New Astra 2G satellite launched 27 December 2014





SES Astra, the company that operates the satellites serving the UK, is nearing the end of a programme to replace the ageing satellites that have been operating since the late 1990s. The first of 3 replacements was the Astra 2F which was launched in September 2012, and the second was the Astra 2E launched last year. The final satellite will be the Astra 2G. It has suffered a catalogue of delays but its launch is now confirmed for November 27 (at 6.30pm GMT). As with the previous launches, it will almost certainly be possible to watch the launch live online. The link will be shown here nearer the time.

What is already clear is that Astra 2G will NOT provide expats with the BBC/ITV etc. Despite endless publicity on reputable websites and forums, some expat forums are still speculating that the main UK entertainment channels will suddenly reappear. Sorry but it ain't going to happen. Current difficulties/impossibilities in receiving the UK free channels will remain as they are.

Revised launch time:

The predicted launch time is now 21.24 hours GMT on November 27 and a live video of the launch will be shown from 21.14 on Remember it will take several weeks after launch before the satellite enters commercial service. It is likely to be well into January/February 2015 before that happens.

As you were, stand easy.

Don't bother looking. The launch will be delayed because of a problem with the upper stage Breeze-M (this is the section of the rocket that would have placed the satellite into its temporary orbit). This article refers to 28th November as the original launch date but that's the local time at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. British time is several hours behind Kazakhstan. The technical authorities are saying the delay will be no more than 2 weeks. 

Latest prediction: 28 December (Kazakhstan time so probably late evening on the 27th in the UK)

And just to complete the report, Astra 2G was successfully lifted into orbit on 27 December at 21.45 GMT. It will now be parked at Longitude 43.5E for several weeks (and maybe even several months) for orbital testing before being moved into its operational orbit. The extra time is because it's been grabbed by Luxembourg's security services as a place marker for their future use at a different undisclosed position.

This page will be left in place for a while but I will eventually remove it once all 3 satellites serving the UK are fully operational.



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