Astra 1D

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Astra 1D
Operator SES S.A.
SES Astra
SATCAT № 23331
Mission duration 12 years
Spacecraft properties
Bus HS-601
Manufacturer Hughes
Launch mass 2,924 kilograms (6,446 lb)
Power 3,300 watts
Start of mission
Launch date November 1, 1994 (1994-11)
Rocket Ariane 4
Launch site Kourou ELA-2
Contractor Arianespace
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Geosynchronous
Longitude Moving
Slot Moving westward (2014-)
52.2°E (2013-2014)
Astra 23.5°E (2012-2013)
1.8°E (2010-2012)
Astra 31.5°E (2007-2010)
Astra 23.5°E (2004-2007)
23°E (2003-2004)
24.2°E (2001-2003)
Astra 28.2°E (1999-2001)
Astra 19.2°E (1998-1999)
Astra 28.2°E (1998)
Astra 19.2°E (1994-1998)[1]
Perigee 35,779 kilometres (22,232 mi)[2]
Apogee 35,807 kilometres (22,249 mi)[2]
Inclination 5.79 degrees[2]
Period 1436.13 minutes[2]
Epoch 25 July 2014, 12:37:19 UTC[2]
Transponders
Bandwidth 26 megahertz
TWTA power 63 ;W
EIRP 50 decibel-watts

Astra 1D is a geostationary communications satellite launched in 1994 by the Société Européenne des Satellites (SES). As of August 2012, the craft remains in service for occasional use.

Astra 1D was the fourth, and under original plans, last Astra communications satellite from SES. It was launched to SES' original solitary operational position at 19.2° east, and was intended as an in-orbit spare for Astra's 1A, 1B and 1C and to carry digital TV transmissions. However, development of digital reception equipment in Europe was not sufficiently advanced for Astra 1D to be SES' first digital satellite (the later Astra 1E fulfilled that role)[3] and demand for additional capacity for both British and German television channels led to 12 of the satellite's transponders being leased to broadcast analogue TV channels before the satellite had been launched.[4]

History[edit]

After launch to 19.2° east, Astra 1D served two periods as a spare at the Astra 28.2°E position colocated with Astra 2A, for seven months in 1998 and for 13 months from December 1999. In between these two periods, it returned to the Astra 19.2°E position. During this time, some small numbers of transponders were used for regular service. After other Astra craft (Astra 2B, Astra 2D) either arrived or were ordered for the slot, it moved to 24.2° east where it spent over two years carrying little more than test cards or feeds, until a move to 23° east (November 2003) and then 23.5° east (September 2004)[1] where Euro1080 began to use it as their main transmitting craft.

When the satellite originally went on air in January 1995,[5] several of its transponders were used by British Sky Broadcasting for new channels such as Granada Talk TV. Since these channels used frequencies that were not available on the original Sky receivers due to being outside the original BSS band, Sky issued viewers with frequency shifters ("ADX Plus Channel Expanders"), comprising small boxes the size of a cigarette packet with a single switch and an on/off LED. When connected between the dish and the receiver (and powered by the receiver) these allowed viewers to switch manually between the Astra 1A and Astra 1D frequency bands - precisely 250 MHz.[6]

In November 2007, Astra 1D was replaced at the Astra 23.5°E position by Astra 1E, and was moved to 31.5° east, where it operated in inclined orbit, to replace Optus A3, and was joined in April 2008 by Astra 5A to officially open the Astra 31.5°E position.[7]

On January 16, 2009 Astra 5A suffered a technical failure and all traffic ceased. Much of it (especially channels for German cable service, Kabel Deutschland) transferred to Astra 23.5°E as Astra 1D was not suitable for the transmission of these services because it was in an inclined orbit. In May 2009, Astra 2C was moved from the 28.2° east position to Astra 31.5°E to take over Astra 5A's mission with Astra 1D as ultimate backup. In June 2010, Astra 1G was moved from Astra 23.5°E to Astra 31.5°E (following the launch of Astra 3B to 23.5° east), where it could take over all broadcasting activity from Astra 2C, releasing Astra 2C for backup, and releasing Astra 1D for use elsewhere. Astra 1D then commenced movement westwards and in August 2010 arrived at 1.8°E where, with Astra 1C at 2.0°E it was used for occasional traffic such as outside broadcast news feeds. Astra 1D returned 23.5° east in 2012 with two transponders active for several months (both carrying the Luxembourg terrestrial channel, RTL Télé Lëtzebuerg).

In June 2013 the satellite moved east from 23.5°E (although it remained listed in the SES website as at this position[8]) to 52.2°E.[9] In February 2014 Astra 1D began moving westward to an undisclosed orbital position,[10] as of May 28, 2014 reaching 48.5° west.[11]

Transponders[edit]

The channels broadcast on Astra 1D during its time at 19.2°E (1994-2000) include:

Transponder Frequency Channels
49 10,714 H Arte (1995-), Nickelodeon Germany (1995–1996), Der Kinderkanal (1997-)
50 10,729 V CNBC Europe (1996-)
51 10,744 H Veronica (1995–1996), CMT Europe (1996-), Bloomberg Television
52 10,759 V RTL 4 (1995–1996), QVC Germany (1996-)
53 10,773 H SBS6 (1995–1996), JSTV (1996-), CNE, The Racing Channel (1996)
54 10,788 V Zee TV (1995-), The Chinese Channel (1995–1997)
55 10,803 H Teleclub (1995–2000)
56 10,818 V Bloomberg Germany, TV Travel Shop
57 10,832 H SBS6 (1996), UK Horizons, UK Play, Astra Promo
58 10,847 V Granada Good Life (1996-), Computer Channel, Granada Breeze, .TV, Zomer TV (-1996), Sky Box Office 4
59 10,862 H Granada Talk TV (1996–1997), Sky Scottish (1996-), Sky Box Office 3 Rapture TV, FilmFour
60 10,877 V Sky Movies Gold (1995-1997), The Weather Channel (1996-1998), The Racing Channel (1996-2001), Sky Box Office 2 (1997-2001)
61 10,891 H Pro Sieben (-1997), Phoenix (1997), Südwest Fernsehen (1997-)
62 10,906 V Home Order Television (1995-)
63 10,921 H Filmnet (-1997), The Adult Channel (1995-1997) Channel 5
64 10,936 V RTL 5 (-1996), tm3 (1996-)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Astra 1D factsheet". The Satellite Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved September 22, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "ASTRA 1D Satellite details 1994-070A NORAD 23331". N2YO. 25 July 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Sky Plans Breach 1D Limit" What Satellite TV July 1994 pp7
  4. ^ "More Choice, More Channels" What Satellite TV October 1994 pp7
  5. ^ Bains, Geoff. "Ready and Waiting" What Satellite TV Satellite Tests 1995 pp12-13
  6. ^ Bains, Geoff. "Double Shift" What Satellite TV January 1995 pp42
  7. ^ "SES ASTRA STARTS NEW ORBITAL POSITION AT 31.5 DEGREES EAST" (Press release). SES ASTRA. April 29, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2012. 
  8. ^ Astra 1D in SES fleet information Accessed June 30, 2013
  9. ^ N2YO real time satellite tracking Accessed June 30, 2013
  10. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed February 27, 2014
  11. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed May 28, 2014

External links[edit]