Astra 3A

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Astra 3A
Mission typeCommunications
COSPAR ID2002-015B Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.27400
Mission duration12 years (planned)
20 years, 10 months (achieved)
Spacecraft properties
ManufacturerBoeing Satellite Systems
Launch mass1,514 kg (3,338 lb)
Power1.6 kW
Start of mission
Launch date29 March 2002, 01:29 UTC
RocketAriane 44L H10-3 (V139)
Launch siteCentre Spatial Guyanais, ELA-2
Entered serviceMay 2002
End of mission
DisposalGraveyard orbit
DeactivatedJanuary 2023
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit[1]
RegimeGeostationary orbit
Longitude23.5° East (2002-2013)
177° West (2013-2016)
86.5° East (2016)
47° West (2017-2019)
86.5° West (2019-2020)
Band20 Ku-band
Bandwidth36 MHz
Coverage areaEurope

Astra 3A is one of the Astra communications satellites owned and operated by SES, launched in March 2002 to the Astra 23.5°E orbital position to provide digital television and radio for direct to home (DTH) and cable, multimedia and interactive services, corporate networks, and occasional and other business services to Europe.

The satellite provides two broadcast beams, of horizontal and vertical polarisation, across two footprints that covered essentially the same areas of Europe – principally the countries of central Europe.[2]


Astra 3A was launched to provide follow-on capacity to replace the DFS Kopernikus-3 satellite and deliver additional capacity for the Benelux countries and central Europe, to create SES-Astra's third major European satellite hotspot after Astra 19.2°E and Astra 28.2°E with access to channels at both positions using a single dish fitted with a monoblock Duo LNB. In that role, television signals could be received with a 50 cm dish across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, most of Denmark, and in parts of France, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, and Slovakia. Reception was even possible as far afield as Scotland, Sweden and Serbia when a larger dish (around 110 cm) was used.

In addition to contribution feeds and individual television channels, Astra 3A carried pay television networks including Kabel Deutschland (Germany), Canal Digitaal (Netherlands), TV Vlaanderen (Belgium), CS Link (Slovakia and Czech Republic) and Skylink (Slovakia and Czech Republic).[3] On 1 February 2012 Kabel Deutschland left Astra 3A [4] and during 2012 other services were transferred off the satellite. As of October 2012, Astra 3A was in an inclined orbit[5] at 23.7° East [6] with all services carried by the adjacent Astra 3B satellite.

In November 2013, Astra 3A was moved to 176.9° West where it remained, in inclined orbit, to provide backup to SES' NSS-9 satellite.[7] In June 2016, Astra 3A was moving east at approximately 1.5°/day [8] and was subsequently positioned at 86.5° West.[9] In November 2016 it started moving east at approx 0.5°/day until positioned at 47° West in mid-February 2017 alongside SES' NSS-806 satellite (replaced by SES-14 in January 2018).[10] Towards the end of October 2019, Astra 3A started moving west at approx 0.8°/day until returned to 86.5° West in December 2019.[11] The satellite was retired to a graveyard orbit in January 2023[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ASTRA 3A". Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Astra 3A". SES. Archived from the original on 18 January 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Astra 3A at 23.5°E". LyngSat. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 28 August 2008.
  4. ^ "Kabel Deutschland schaltet Satellitenzuführung endgültig ab" (in German). Digital fernsehen. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Astra 3A Key Data". SES. Archived from the original on 28 November 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  6. ^ "Astra 3A". Retrieved 14 October 2012.
  7. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed March 31, 2014
  8. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed July 4, 2016
  9. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed November 1, 2016
  10. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed February 28, 2017
  11. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed 31 December 2019
  12. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed 25 February 2023

External links[edit]