ASTRA 1M satellite ready for launch
* Fifth Eurostar satellite delivered by Astrium this year
* Second of four satellites built by Astrium for SES Astra
Baikonur, Toulouse. - The ASTRA 1M satellite, built by Astrium for SES ASTRA, will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan during the night of 5-6 November. The satellite will be launched on a Proton Breeze M launch vehicle provided by International Launch Services (ILS).
As prime contractor for ASTRA 1M, Astrium is responsible for the design and build of the satellite and the supply of both the payload and the Eurostar E3000 platform. ASTRA 1M arrived at the launch site at the end of September, where its tanks were filled and the satellite was assembled in the upper stage of the launcher. Following the launch, the Astrium control centre in Toulouse will take control of the satellite, position it on its operational location, before handover to SES ASTRA.
ASTRA 1M will deliver direct-to-home (DTH) services, including digital and high definition (HD) television with pan-European coverage. Once positioned at 19.2°E, it will be the second Eurostar satellite in the ASTRA fleet following ASTRA 2B, which was launched in September 2000. Astrium is constructing two other Eurostar E3000 satellites for SES ASTRA: ASTRA 3B is currently undergoing final assembly and testing, and ASTRA 1N was ordered in July 2008.
ASTRA 1M will be the fifth Eurostar satellite launched this year and the 39th in orbit. It is the 14th Eurostar E3000 satellite. Eleven others are currently at various stages of production.
The communications payload includes 36 high-power Ku-band transponders and three deployable antennas. The spacecraft will have a launch mass of 5,300 kg, a solar array span of 35 metres once deployed in orbit, and electrical power of 10 kW.
Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Astrium had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of €39.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116, 000.
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