Astra 2D


Astra 2D
OperatorSES Astra
COSPAR ID2000-081A
SATCAT no.26638
Mission duration12 years[1]
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass1,420 kilograms (3,130 lb)
BOL mass824 kilograms (1,817 lb)
Power1,600 watts
Start of mission
Launch date19 December 2000 (2000-12-19)
RocketAriane 5G V138
Launch siteKourou ELA-3
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
Longitude24°E (2001, testing)
28.2°E (2001-2015)
5.2°E (2015)
57°E (2015-2017)
60°E (2017-2018)
5.2°E (2018-2020)
57.2°E (2020-)
Slot57°E (2015, 2020-)
Astra 28.2°E (2001-2015)
Astra 5°E (2015, 2018-2020)
Perigee altitude35,837 kilometres (22,268 mi)[2]
Apogee altitude35,852 kilometres (22,277 mi)[2]
Inclination4.3 degrees[2]
Period1436.11 minutes[2]
EpochMay 28, 2018, 11:43:15 UTC[2]
Band16 Ku band
Bandwidth26 MHz
TWTA power39 watts

Astra 2D is one of the Astra communications satellites owned and operated by SES, and located at 28.2° east in the Clarke Belt till June 2015. It is a Hughes HS-376 craft, and was launched from the Guiana Space Centre in December 2000 to join Astra 2A and Astra 2B at 28.2°E, where it remained for its active life.

As of February 2013, Astra 2D has carried no regularly active transponders.[3]

In service

While active, most of Astra 2D's transponders were used to provide television channels available on the Sky Digital satellite service to both Ireland and the United Kingdom, as well as the non-subscription service, Freesat. Provision of rights-sensitive broadcasts free-to-air was made possible by the satellite's beam that was tightly focused on Ireland and the United Kingdom. However, surrounding countries had the ability to pick up the signal (dependent on suitably sized satellite dishes) and so could still access Freesat from outside the UK. Some channels on 2D were encrypted with Videoguard (a proprietary encryption method by the NDS Group) and only Sky Digiboxes with valid cards, or standard hardware with non-approved (with respect to the Sky/NDS end-user contract) "Dragon", or "T-Rex" conditional-access module can decode these channels.

The BBC broadcast all of its domestic television channels (including BBC HD and the regional variations) from the Astra 2D satellite, except the BBC News Channel and BBC Parliament which broadcast from Astra 2A. All domestic BBC channels have been free-to-air since 29 July 2003.

ITV also broadcast all its television channels (including regional variations of ITV1, and STV and UTV) from the Astra 2D satellite. All ITV channels have been free-to-air from 1 November 2005, although some regions reverted to Free-To-View encryption in 2008 when their lease on one 2D transponder could not be renewed.

Channel 4 broadcast most of its channels free-to-air from this satellite, including Channel 4, Channel 4+1, E4, More4 and Film4 along with their timeshift variants. All were unencrypted apart from the feeds of Channel 4, Channel 4+1, E4 and E4+1 intended for viewers in Ireland, which remain encrypted.

From November 2008, Five began to transmit free-to-air for the first time on Astra 2D, using borrowed space on a BBC transponder, allowing the channel to join Freesat.

End of service

With a projected lifetime of 12 years, Astra 2D was expected to leave regular operational service towards the end of 2012 or the beginning of 2013 and so the Astra 1N satellite, designed for operation at Astra 19.2°E and launched in August 2011, was initially positioned at 28.2°E to temporarily replace Astra 2D until the start of service of its long-term replacement, Astra 2F, which was launched in September 2012.[4]

Astra 1N started commercial service at 28.2°E in October 2011[5] with transponder testing in October and November. Channels on Astra 2D started to transfer to Astra 1N in December with Channel 5 (plus 5* and 5USA), the Channel 4 family and ITV channels all moving to the new satellite over the next two months. On 24 February 2012 the last remaining channels on Astra 2D (the BBC channels) switched off and started transmission from Astra 1N.[6]

Until June 2015, Astra 2D remained in position at 28.2°E, with no transponder activity.[7] It was then moved and positioned at Astra 5°E in July 2015.[8] In October 2015, Astra 2D was moved to 57°E alongside NSS-12.[9] In December 2017 it was moved to 60°E.[10] From May 2018 to July 2018, Astra 2D was moved west at 0.65°/day to Astra 5°E.[11] From January 2020 to March 2020, Astra 2D was moved east at 0.9°/day back to 57.2°E, alongside NSS-12.[12]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e "ASTRA 2D Satellite details 2000-081A NORAD 26638". N2YO. 28 May 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  3. ^ Astra 2D at 28.2°E on Accessed 15 February 2013
  4. ^ "Ariane 5 launches Astra 2F" (Press release). Astrium. 30 September 2012. Archived from the original on 3 April 2013.
  5. ^ "New SES Satellite ASTRA 1N Operational" (Press release). SES. 24 October 2011.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Astra 2D in SES fleet information Archived 13 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 3 June 2013
  8. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed July 22, 2015
  9. ^ Geostationary Satellites Accessed December 27, 2015
  10. ^ Geostationary Satellites Accessed December 31, 2017
  11. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed July 29, 2018
  12. ^ Real Time Satellite Tracking And Predictions Accessed March 31, 2020

External links

  • Astra consumers/viewers' website
  • Astra 2D Ku-band UK/Ireland Beam footprint(s) at SatBeams
  • SES guide to channels broadcasting on Astra satellites
  • SES fleet information and map