ASTRA 3A FULLY OPERATIONAL AT 23.5° EAST29 May 2002
13th ASTRA satellite replaces Germany's DFS Kopernikus
ASTRA 3A, the thirteenth satellite of SES ASTRA, an SES GLOBAL company (Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG; Frankfurt Stock Exchange: SDSL), has been successfully deployed at the Company's third orbital position over Europe (23.5°/24.2° East) and is now fully operational.
ASTRA 3A features 20 Ku-band transponders (11.45 - 12.75 GHz), powered by 30 Watt Travelling Wave Tube Amplifiers (TWTA's) and a footprint optimized for coverage of the German speaking countries of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The satellite was built by Boeing Satellite Systems Inc. and has a design life of 10 years; launch services onboard Ariane 4 were provided by Arianespace from the European Space Port of Kourou (French Guyana).
ASTRA 3A has replaced Deutsche Telekom's DFS Kopernikus satellite at the orbital position of 23.5° East, with all traffic having been switched.
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ASTRA 3A mission update:
The 13th satellite in the ASTRA constellation was launched into space onboard an European Ariane 4 booster from the European Space Port in Kourou (French Guyana) in the evening hours of March 28thth, 2002.
After injection into geostationary transfer orbit, the ASTRA 3A spacecraft was monitored 24 hours a day by tracking stations in Castle Rock (USA), Betzdorf (Luxembourg) and Sydney (Australia).
On April 1st, 2002, the satellite's onboard Apogee Kick Motor (AKM) was fired to propel ASTRA 3A into geostationary orbit.
Reflector deployment and solar drum extension were performed April 12th, with final earth acquisition taking place on the same day. The Boeing built ASTRA 3A spacecraft was officially handed over to SES on April 15th, when SES ASTRA's technical team started extensive testing of the spacecraft's payload at the orbital location of 24.2° East.
Following the successful testing of the payload, the drift towards ASTRA 3A's final orbital location of 23.5° East was initiated, where the satellite was successfully positioned on April 30th, 2002.