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Published:May 7th, 2007 04:57 EST
ASTRA 1L broadcasting satellite

ASTRA 1L broadcasting satellite

By SOP newswire

KOUROU, French Guiana, The ASTRA 1L broadcasting satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin [NYSE:  LMT] for SES ASTRA, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), was successfully launched today from Kourou, French Guiana.  Lift-off occurred at 6:29 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) aboard an Ariane 5-ECA launch vehicle provided by Arianespace of Evry, France.  Initial contact with the satellite, called acquisition of signal, was confirmed at 7:29 p.m. EDT from Lockheed Martin's satellite tracking station in Uralla, Australia. 

Built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), Newtown, Pa., ASTRA 1L is the first of five planned A2100 satellite launches this year.   The successful launch of ASTRA 1L represents the 32nd launch of an A2100 spacecraft for customers worldwide and all 32 currently are operational.  Throughout its nearly 50-year history, LMCSS has launched 90 commercial communications geostationary earth orbit satellites.

“An extraordinary team of dedicated, talented individuals have been focused on delivering the best quality broadcasting spacecraft to our customer SES ASTRA,” said LMCSS vice-president & general manager Marshall Byrd.  “We take great pride in achieving mission success for our customer and look forward to delivering another high world-class, high-performance spacecraft that will greatly enhance SES ASTRA’s fleet."

ASTRA 1L will be located at orbital location 19.2 degrees East and will carry 29 active Ku band transponders used to provide distribution of direct-to-home broadcast services across Europe as well as a 2-transponder Ka band payload for interactive applications.   ASTRA 1L is expected to provide 15 years of design life and will ensure further fleet optimization by allowing the release of ASTRA 2C from its current location of 19.2 degrees East. Furthermore, it will reinforce SES ASTRA’s inter satellite back-up concept. 

“We are very proud and satisfied that the ASTRA 1L launch has been a success,” said Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA. “ASTRA 1L will allow us to move our satellite ASTRA 2C from 19.2° East to 28.2° East to fulfill the high capacity demand from the U.K. and Irish markets. It will also extend the coverage from the Canary Islands in the West to the Russian border in the East and help us to further strengthen our unique in-orbit back-up scheme. The success of the ASTRA 1L launch therefore is a milestone for SES ASTRA and shows that we have strengthened the fruitful cooperation with our launch partners, Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems who built the satellite and Arianespace who was responsible for the launch.”

ASTRA 1L is the 15th A2100 series spacecraft designed, built and launched for SES companies by Lockheed Martin, including ASTRA-1KR, which was launched in April 2006.  Lockheed Martin is currently building SIRIUS 4 for SES SIRIUS and AMC-14 for SES AMERICOM.

The Lockheed Martin A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft series is designed to meet a wide variety of telecommunications needs including Ka-band broadband and broadcast services, fixed satellite services in C-band and Ku-band, high-power direct broadcast services using the Ku-band frequency spectrum and mobile satellite services using UHF, L-band, and S-band payloads. 

The A2100's modular design features a reduction in parts, simplified construction, increased on-orbit reliability and reduced weight and cost.

The A2100 spacecraft’s design accommodates a large range of communication payloads as demonstrated by the 32 spacecraft successfully flown to date.  This design modularity also enables the A2100 spacecraft to be configured for missions other than communication.  The A2100 design is currently being adapted for geostationary earth orbit (GEO)-based earth observing missions and is currently the baselined platform for Lockheed Martin’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Series-R (GOES-R) proposal.
 
About SES ASTRA
SES ASTRA is the leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite system in Europe, delivering services to more than 109 million DTH and cable households. The ASTRA satellite fleet currently comprises 12 satellites, transmitting 1,864 analogue and digital television and radio channels. SES ASTRA also provides satellite-based multimedia, internet and telecommunication services to enterprises, governments and their agencies. With 26 High Definition (HD) channels available via its satellites today, ASTRA is also the most important HDTV broadcasting platform in Europe. ASTRA's prime orbital positions are 19.2° East, 28.2° East, and 23.5° East.

SES ASTRA is an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG). SES (Euronext Paris, Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) wholly owns three market-leading satellite operators, SES ASTRA in Europe, SES AMERICOM in North America, and SES NEW SKIES, which provide global coverage and connectivity. The Company also holds strategic participations in SES Sirius in Europe, Ciel in Canada and Quetzsat in Mexico. AMERICOM Government Services provides network solutions and bandwidth to the US government and its contractors. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a fleet of 43 satellites in 33 orbital positions around the globe. Additional information on SES is available at: www.ses.com

About Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems is a unit of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.  Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, a major operating unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation, designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a full spectrum of advanced-technology systems for national security, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include human space flight systems; a full range of remote sensing, navigation, meteorological and communications satellites and instruments; space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft; laser radar; fleet ballistic missiles; and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2006 sales of $39.6 billion.