LUXEMBOURG--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SES S.A. (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) announces that the ASTRA 5B satellite was successfully orbited by an Ariane 5 rocket from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guyana, at 19:04 local time on March 22nd, 2014 (23:04 CET; 18.04 EDT).
ASTRA 5B was built by Airbus Defence and Space Systems in Toulouse, France, based on the highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform. The satellite will be located at the orbital position of 31.5 degrees East and is equipped with 40 Ku-band transponders (36 MHz equivalent) as well as 6 Ka-band transponders.
ASTRA 5B will extend SES’s transponder capacity and geographical reach over Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States for DTH, direct-to-cable and contribution feeds to digital terrestrial television networks. The spacecraft also carries the second SES hosted L-band payload for the European Commission’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). EGNOS helps to verify, improve and report on the reliability and accuracy of positioning signals in Europe.
ASTRA 5B had a launch mass of 5724 kilograms, and will have a wingspan of 40m once its solar arrays are deployed in orbit, and a spacecraft power of 13kW at the end of its 15-year design lifetime.
Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES, said: “Today’s successful launch of ASTRA 5B is particularly satisfying to me personally, less than two weeks away from my official retirement from the position of President and CEO of SES on April 3, 2014. The launch success means that SES will have grown its satellite fleet under my tenure from 4 satellites at a single orbital position over Europe back in 1995, to 56 satellites at 37 orbital slots around the world today. At the same time, the number of active transponders will have grown from 64 to 1.508, once ASTRA 5B becomes operational. In line with our well-defined strategy, ASTRA 5B will greatly increase SES’s capacities over CEE, Russia and the CIS.”
“We are particularly happy to celebrate this successful launch of Astra 5B. Not only is ASTRA 5B the 8th satellite built by Airbus Defense and Space Systems for SES, but it is also the 33rd satellite based on our highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform - which celebrates this month its 10th anniversary in orbit,” added François Auque, Head of Space Systems.
European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship, said: "This new EGNOS hosted payload launch demonstrates the Commission's commitment to providing positioning signals with the highest possible accuracy to citizens and businesses in Europe. This opens up a multitude of business opportunities, today and in the future, especially when EGNOS will start working with Galileo when Galileo becomes operational by the end of 2014."
Airbus Defence and Space are currently completing the integration and tests for Astra 2G, to be launched later this year. In addition work has recently commenced on SES-10. Both of these satellites are Eurostar E3000 designs.
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SES is a world-leading satellite operator with a fleet of 56 geostationary satellites. The company provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators and business and governmental organisations worldwide.
SES stands for long-lasting business relationships, high-quality service and excellence in the broadcasting industry. The culturally diverse regional teams of SES are located around the globe and work closely with customers to meet their specific satellite bandwidth and service requirements.
SES (NYSE Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) holds participations in Ciel in Canada and QuetzSat in Mexico, as well as a strategic participation in satellite infrastructure start-up O3b Networks. Further information under: www.ses.com.