Astra 5A is one of the Astra communications satellites owned and operated by SES at the Astra 31.5 E orbital slot. Launched in 1997 to the 5 E position by NSAB (later SES Sirius, and now a non-autonomous part of SES) as Sirius 2, operation of the satellite was transferred to SES in April 2008 and the craft renamed and moved to 31.5 E to open up a new orbital position for the company for the development of markets in Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Astra 5A is co-located with Astra 1D, moved in November 2007 from the Astra 23.5 E orbital position.
The Astra 5A satellite provides two broadcast beams, of horizontal and vertical polarisation, across two footprints, called the CEE (Central and Eastern European) beam and the PE (pan-European) beam. The CEE beam provides reception on a 60 cm dish from Poland to northern Turkey, and the Balkans to the Black Sea, while the PE beam extends 60 cm coverage from Tunisia to the Urals and from the Baltic states to Israel.
Countries covered include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Georgia, Hungary, Iran, Jordan, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Tunisia, Turkey, and Ukraine.
Demise of satellite
On January 16, 2009 Astra 5A "experienced a technical anomaly leading to the end of the spacecraft's mission". All traffic ceased, with much of it (especially channels for German cable service, Kabel Deutschland) transferred to Astra 23.5 E.
Transfer of services to Astra 1D was not practical because this satellite, although effectively co-located with Astra 5A, is in an inclined orbit and usable only for TV contribution services and other intermittent use.
In March 2009, SES announced that in April, the Astra 2C satellite was to be moved from the 28.2 east position to Astra 31.5 E to temporarily take over Astra 5A's mission until Astra 3B is launched to Astra 23.5 E, when another craft currently there can be released to Astra 31.5 E..The move of Astra 2C was started in May 2009 and completed on May 11.
After the loss of Astra 5A's sun sensors (used to orient towards the sun to charge the craft's batteries) the batteries quickly depleted rendering it impossible to send control information to the satellite. Collisions were a possibility, with Intelsat 802 stated the most probable. In April 2009 SES said that they had managed to regain control of the satellite and that it had been moved out of geostationary orbit, into a higher one, presumably graveyard orbit.
Astra 1D co-located satellite
- Sirius 2 original designation
- SES satellite operator
- Astra satellite family
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