|Mission duration||10 years|
|Bus||GE-5000 (formerly known as AS-5000)|
|Manufacturer||GE AstroSpace (formerly RCA AstroSpace, Electronics division)|
|Launch mass||1,562 kilograms (3,444 lb)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||March 2, 1991 UTC|
|Rocket||Ariane 4 V42|
|Launch site||Kourou ELA-2|
|End of mission|
|Deactivated||14 July 2006|
|Regime||Geosynchronous-belt graveyard orbit|
|Perigee||36,253.7 kilometres (22,527.0 mi)|
|Apogee||36,335.2 kilometres (22,577.6 mi)|
|Epoch||2 March 2015, 07:38:46 UTC|
(16 main, 6 backup)
|TWTA power||60 watts|
Astra 1B was the second of the Astra communications satellites launched and operated by SES (Société Européenne des Satellites). It was bought during its construction from GE Americom, and was launched to add extra capacity to the satellite television services from 19.2° east, serving Germany, the UK and Republic of Ireland.
The RCA AS-5000 Ku-band satellite design was used extensively for the spacecraft bus, propulsion, thermal protection, and solar array, beside the communications payload.
It was believed to have been launched in a faulty condition, and suffered a thruster failure early in its life, causing minor drift, meaning that it became permanently difficult to obtain a steady lock on the satellite. This was most notable on analogue transmissions where the picture would move from clear to carrying sparklies and back again.
Along with Astra 1C, Astra 1B was to be replaced in 2002 with Astra 1K, which failed to launch successfully, and as a result it continued to serve a longer life than expected, only falling from use when digital television on Astra 2A removed the majority of UK and Ireland targeted channels from 19.2° east.
From 2005, SES claimed that the satellite was in use for VSAT services, however no transponders were powered, and the satellite drifted to around 19.5° east. One transponder was reactivated in October 2005, but was carrying only colour bars.
On June 16, 2006 SES confirmed that Astra 1B would be decommissioned and de-orbited within weeks after Astra 1KR, the satellite which would replace Astra 1B and 1C, reached the operational orbital position of 19.2° east. It was officially end-of-lifed on July 14, 2006; close to four years after it had ceased carrying signals, ending SES's claims that the craft was operational.
Astra 1B transponders were used in the following ways during the operational life of the satellite:
|17||11,464 H||Premiere (1991–2003), Sonnenklar.TV (2003-)|
|18||11,479 V||The Movie Channel (1991–1997), Sky Movies Screen 2 (1997–1998), Sky Moviemax (1998–2001)|
|19||11,494 H||Eins Plus (1991–1993), Das Erste (1993-)|
|20||11,509 V||Sky Sports (1991–2001)|
|21||11,523 H||Tele 5 (1991–1992), DSF (1993-)|
|22||11,538 V||Eurosport (1991–1992), MTV Europe (1992–1994), VH1 UK (1994–2001)|
|23||11,553 H||Astra Video (1991), FilmNet (1991–1992), UK Gold (1992–2001), What's In Store (?-1997), Screenshop (1997-2001) Tele 5 (2002-)|
|24||11,568 V||JSTV (1991-2001), The Children's Channel (1991-1993), CMT Europe (1994–1996), Sky Soap (1997–1999), The History Channel UK (1997–2001), Sci-fi Channel UK (1997–2001)|
|25||11,582 H||Nord 3 (1991–2001), NDR Fernsehen (2001-)|
|26||11,597 V||Astra Info (1990-1991), Comedy Channel (1991), TV Asia (1991-1994) The Adult Channel (1992), Sky Movies Gold (1992-1997), Disney Channel UK (1995–2001), Sky Box Office 1 (1997-2001)|
|27||11,612 H||TV3 Denmark (1991–1996), VH1 Germany/Nickelodeon Germany (1996-1998), MTV Germany (1999-)|
|28||11,627 V||CNN International (1992-)|
|29||11,641 H||TV3 Denmark (1991),Astra Info (1992), n-tv (1992-)|
|30||11,656 V||Cinemanía (1992-1997), Astra Video (1992) ORB Fernsehen (1997-)|
|31||11,671 H||TV3 Norway (1991–1996) Sky Sports 3 (1996–2001)|
|32||11,686 V||Documanía (1992–1996), Sportsmanía (1996-?), BR alpha (1998-)|
- "ASTRA 1B Satellite details 1991-015A NORAD 21139". N2YO. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
- "ASTRA 1KR OPERATIONAL AT ORBITAL POSITION 19.2° EAST" (Press release). SES ASTRA. June 16, 2006.