ASTRA 3B to be launched end of 2009 / Further development of ASTRA’s orbital position 23.5°East

SES ASTRA, an SES GLOBAL company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), has announced today that it has awarded the contract for the construction of its new satellite, ASTRA 3B, to the European satellite manufacturer ASTRIUM. As prime contractor for ASTRA 3B, ASTRIUM will design and build the satellite.

ASTRA 3B will be a state-of-the-art Ku and Ka-band spacecraft designed for the distribution of both direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast services and two-way broadband services across Europe. After ASTRA 2B and ASTRA 1M, ASTRA 3B is the third ASTRA satellite to be built by ASTRIUM. The satellite will have 52 transponders of which 20 transponders are to replace existing in-orbit capacity and 32 transponders which will create new capacity, thereby strenghtening 23.5E as the third orbital hotspot for European DTH services. ASTRA 3B is expected to be launched end of 2009.

ASTRA 3B will be built on a Eurostar E3000 platform, the latest version of the highly successful Eurostar series. Seven Eurostar E3000 are currently in operation in orbit, and 10 more are at various stages of production. To date, 45 Eurostar satellites of various series have been ordered from ASTRIUM, 31 of which have been successfully launched and have proven to be highly reliable in commercial service.

“We are very pleased to work with the ASTRIUM team for the third time”, says Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA. “ASTRA 3B will significantly strengthen our orbital position 23.5° East which becomes increasingly attractive for DTH broadcasters across Europe. Together with ASTRIUM, we look forward to developing this new generation of satellites, thus increasing our satellite fleet for the benefits of our customers.”

Antoine Bouvier, CEO of ASTRIUM Satellites, said: “We are extremely pleased that SES ASTRA which values our know-how and technology has reaffirmed its confidence with this latest order. The tight links established by our technical teams on the ASTRA 1M project have undoubtedly contributed to the decision in favour of a Eurostar E3000. This latest success further reinforces our reputation as a space industry leader for the largest operators”.