Arianespace has delayed the December 6 scheduled launch of SES’ Astra 5B satellite to January 2014, citing the non-availability of the bird’s co-passenger satellite Hispasat’s Amazonas 4A. The spacecraft, which arrived in Kourou, French Guyana on November 6 for launch on board an Ariane 5 booster, has been put into safe storage until the launch preparations can resume.
The Amazonas 4A, the sixth satellite of operator Hispasat, chose to delay the launch in order to make adjustments to ensure its reliability and performance in space after an abnormality was detected in final checks conducted prior to its move to the launch pad.
The Astra 5B, built by EADS Astrium in France, will be located at the orbital position of 31.5 degrees East, equipped with 40 Ku-band transponders (36 MHz equivalent) as well as six Ka-band transponders. It will extend SES’ transponder capacity and geographical reach over Eastern European and neighbouring markets for direct-to-home, direct-to-cable and contribution feeds to digital terrestrial TV networks. The spacecraft also carries a hosted L-band payload for the European Commission’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service.