Astra 1B

Astra 1B

Astra 1B
General information
Launch Date March 2, 1991
Launch Mass 1562 kg
Orbit Mass
Manufacturer GE AstroSpace
Model GE 5000
Launcher /
Flight Number
Ariane 4 / V42
Lifetime 10 years
Transponder Information
Transponder Capacity 22 (16 main, 6 backup)
TWTA output power 60 W
Bandwidth (signal processing) 26 MHz
EIRP 52.5 dBW
Expendable Energy 2136 W
Former location 19.2°E
Current location Graveyard orbit
List of broadcast satellites

Astra 1B was the second satellite launched and operated by Société Européenne des Satellites (SES), now SES Astra. It was bought during its construction from GE Americom, and was launched to add extra capacity to the satellite television services from 19.2E, serving Germany, the UK and Republic of Ireland.

It was believed to have been launched in a faulty condition, and suffered a thruster failure early in its life, causing minor drift, meaning that it became permanently difficult to obtain a steady lock on the satellite. This was most notable on analogue transmissions where the picture would move from clear to carrying sparklies and back again.

It (with Astra 1C) was to be replaced with Astra 1K, which failed to launch successfully, and as a result it continued to serve a longer life than expected, only falling from use when digital television on Astra 2A removed the majority of UK and Ireland targeted channels from 19.2E.

As of 2005, SES Astra claim that the satellite is in use for VSAT services, however no transponders are powered on, and the satellite has drifted to around 19.5E. It is likely to be officially retired when Astra 1KR reaches orbit. One transponder was reactivated in October 2005, but was carrying only colour bars.

On June 16 2006 SES Astra confirmed that Astra 1B will be decommissioned and de-orbited within weeks after Astra 1KR, the satellite which will replace Astra 1B and 1C, reached the operational orbital position of 19.2°E. It was officially end-of-lifed on July 14, 2006; close to 4 years after it had ceased carrying signals, ending SES's claims that the craft was operational.


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