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SES Orders 2 GEO Satellites from Thales for Broadcast Services 

By | November 18, 2021

An artist’s view of Astra 1P and Astra 1Q, built by Thales Alenia Space for SES. Photo: SES

SES has ordered two new Geostationary Orbit (GEO) Ku-band satellites from Thales Alenia Space to replace aging broadcast satellites in its prime video neighborhood. The new satellites announced Thursday — ASTRA 1P and ASTRA 1Q — will be located in SES’s prime orbital slot of 19.2 degrees East, and are expected to launch in 2024. 

SES currently has four operational satellites at 19.2 degrees East — ASTRA 1KR (launched in 2006), ASTRA 1L (launched in 2007), ASTRA 1M (launched in 2008), and ASTRA 1N (launched in 2011). This orbital slot currently serves 118 million households, or over 43% of all European TV homes.

ASTRA 1P will be a classic wide-beam satellite, based on the Thales electric Spacebus NEO platform. ASTRA 1Q, will be a next-generation digital satellite with both wide beams and high-throughput spot beams. SES said this will allow the company to customize the satellite in orbit and deploy capacity to other orbital video and data customers. It will be based on the Thales software-defined Space Inspire platform. 

SES CEO Steve Collar said that having flexibility in ASTRA 1Q future-proofs the investment. 

“Our prime TV neighbourhood at 19.2 degrees East is one of our most valuable assets and has been key to enabling renowned European broadcasters to grow their TV audiences in the last 30 years. These two satellites will have the resiliency, reliability and redundancy that our video customers need, and will be able to deliver continued premium services well into 2040,” Collar said. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but SES said these satellites have been in the company’s existing 2021-2025 capital expenditure plans.