Astra 5B

Image: Airbus Defence and Space
Image: Airbus Defence and Space

Astra 5B is a commercial communications satellite built by EADS Astrium (Airbus Defence and Space) for operation by SES, Luxembourg. Astra 5B has a launch mass of ~5,800 Kilograms being based on Astrium’s flight-proven Eurostar E-3000 platform that is capable of hosting powerful communications payloads with a payload power exceeding 10,000 Watts.

The satellite features two deployable solar arrays for power generation and associated batteries and avionics for power storage and distribution. A dedicated bi-propellant propulsion system will be used for apogee maneuvers and stationkeeping maneuvers in Geostationary Orbit. Astra 5B is three-axis stabilized featuring a state of the art navigation system. The satellite provides precise Earth-pointing capabilities.

Eurostar-3000 Platform - Image: ESA
Eurostar-3000 Platform – Image: ESA

The payload of the vehicle consists of 40 Ku-Band transponders operating at 33 MHz with linear polarization and 6 Ka-Band transponders with circular polarization. The powerful Ku-payload enables Astra 5B to contribute to the SES broadcasting concept from the important orbital position at 31.5 degrees East, co-located with four other Astra satellites.

Astra 5B’s high-power Ku-Band beam covers eastern Europe and surrounding regions including parts of central and northern Europe, the Mediterranean and Middle East. The Ku-Band Wide-Beam covers eastern Europe into Asia. Ka-Band coverage is provided for the same regions. The Ka-Band payload will allow SES ASTRA to develop next generation broadband services covering high-demand regions such as Europe.

The satellite provides Direct-to-Home, direct-to- cable and contribution feeds to digital terrestrial television networks. Both, pay-TV and free-to-air TV broadcasters will be provided with increased functionality by the next generation of SES satellites that are being launched from 2012 to 2014.

The vehicle also includes a hosted L-Band Payload for the European Union. The navigation payload is part of the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), which is being developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission (EC)
Astra 5B will operate for at least 15 years.