Arianespace, which is the launch service provider, has decided to execute the necessary technical replacements and to postpone the launch for several days. Both the launch vehicle and its payload – Astra 3B and ComsatBw-2 satellite – have been placed in standby-by mode and maintained in fully safe conditions.
The new Astra 3B satellite was due to launch today, March 26, 2010, between 7.03 and 7.52 pm (local time) from the Kourou Space Centre in French Guiana. The new satellite was built by EADS Astrium in Toulouse using a Eurostar E3000 platform.
The take-off was expected to be followed live on the internet, as well as on the Astra satellite at 19.2 degrees East. On the Arianespace website, where the live transmission will take place, a video about the payload can be seen. Click here.
Astra 3B will be located at 23.5 degrees East, Astra’s orbital position for delivering DTH broadcast services mainly to the Benelux and Eastern Europe, as well as two-way broadband services across Europe and the Middle East. It will allow SES Astra to extend the geographical coverage and the service to customers and offer DTH TV reception from Spain to the Black Sea.
Astra 3B will join Astra 3A and enable SES Astra to release its satellites 1E and 1G for other missions. These two satellites are currently positioned at 23.5 degrees East.