Astra 1D is a geostationary communications satellite launched in 1994 by the Soci t Europ enne des Satellites (SES). , the craft remains in service for occasional use.
Astra 1D was the fourth, and under original plans, last Astra communications satellite from SES. It was launched to SES' original solitary operational position at 19.2 east, and was intended as an in-orbit spare for Astra's 1A, 1B and 1C and to carry digital TV transmissions. However, development of digital reception equipment in Europe was not sufficiently advanced for Astra 1D to be SES' first digital satellite (the later Astra 1E fulfilled that role) and demand for additional capacity for both British and German television channels led to 12 of the satellite's transponders being leased to broadcast analogue TV channels before the satellite had been launched.
After launch to 19.2 east, Astra 1D served two periods as a spare at the Astra 28.2 E position colocated with Astra 2A, during mid-1998 and for most of 2000. In between these two periods, it returned to the Astra 19.2 E position. During this time, some small numbers of transponders were used for regular service. After other Astra craft (Astra 2B, Astra 2D) either arrived or were ordered for the slot, it moved to 24.2 east where it spent almost two years carrying little more than test cards or feeds, until a move to 23 east (September 2003) and then 23.5 east (November 2004) where Euro1080 began to use it as their main transmitting craft.
When the satellite originally went on air in January 1995, several of its transponders were used by British Sky Broadcasting for new channels such as Granada Talk TV. Since these channels used frequencies that were not available on the original Sky receivers due to being outside the original BSS band, Sky issued viewers with frequency shifters ("ADX Plus Channel Expanders"), comprising small boxes the size of a cigarette packet with a single switch and an on/off LED. When connected between the dish and the receiver (and powered by the receiver) these allowed viewers to switch manually between the Astra 1A and Astra 1D frequency bands - precisely 250 MHz.
In November 2007, Astra 1D was replaced at the Astra 23.5 E position by Astra 1E, and was moved to 31.5 east, where it operated in inclined orbit, to replace Optus A3, and was joined in April 2008 by Astra 5A to officially open the Astra 31.5 E position.
On January 16, 2009 Astra 5A suffered a technical failure and all traffic ceased. Much of it (especially channels for German cable service, Kabel Deutschland) transferred to Astra 23.5 E as Astra 1D was not suitable for the transmission of these services because it was in an inclined orbit. In May 2009, Astra 2C was moved from the 28.2 east position to Astra 31.5 E to take over Astra 5A's mission with Astra 1D as ultimate backup. In June 2010, Astra 1G was moved from Astra 23.5 E to Astra 31.5 E (following the launch of Astra 3B to 23.5 east), where it could take over all broadcasting activity from Astra 2C, releasing Astra 2C for backup, and releasing Astra 1D for use elsewhere. Astra 1D then commenced movement westwards and in August 2010 arrived at 1.8 E where, with Astra 1C at 2.0 E it was used for occasional traffic such as outside broadcast news feeds. , Astra 1D is back at 23.5 east with two transponders active (both carrying the Luxembourg terrestrial channel, RTL T l L tzebuerg).
The channels broadcast on Astra 1D during its time at 19.2 E (1994-2000) include:
||Arte (1995-), Nickelodeon Germany (1995 1996), Der Kinderkanal (1997-)
||CNBC Europe (1996-)
||Veronica (1995 1996), CMT Europe (1996-), Bloomberg Television
||RTL 4 (1995 1996), QVC Germany (1996-)
||SBS6 (1995 1996), JSTV (1996-), CNE, The Racing Channel (1996)
||Zee TV (1995-), The Chinese Channel (1995 1997)
||Teleclub (1995 2000)
||Bloomberg Germany, TV Travel Shop
||SBS6 (1996), UK Horizons, UK Play, Astra Promo
||Granada Good Life (1996-), Computer Channel, Granada Breeze, .TV, Zomer TV (-1996), Sky Box Office 4
||Granada Talk TV (1996 1997), Sky Scottish (1996-), Sky Box Office 3 Rapture TV, FilmFour
||Sky Movies Gold (1995-1997), The Weather Channel (1996-1998), The Racing Channel (1996-2001), Sky Box Office 2 (1997-2001)
||Pro Sieben (-1997), Phoenix (1997), S dwest Fernsehen (1997-)
||Home Order Television (1995-)
||Filmnet (-1997), The Adult Channel (?-1997) Channel 5
||RTL 5 (-1996), tm3 (1996-)
- Astra 23.5 E orbital position
- Astra 19.2 E original orbital position
- SES satellite operator
- Astra satellite family
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