Astra 2E preparing for channel migrations
During February, Sky and Freesat channels will migrate across to the new satellite, notably all services from the BBC still on the Astra 1N satellite.
Sky and Freesat viewers in the UK and Republic of Ireland are not likely to experience any major disruption as part of the transfer, with just a short interruption to broadcasts expected as channels switch satellites.
In line with Astra 2F, which went operational last winter, some viewers in the UK may be able to receive a slightly stronger satellite signal.
Viewers in Europe will be watching nervously, as the migration of services across to Astra 2E will restrict access to UK free-to-air TV and radio services, thanks to the satellite's tighter spot beam on the UK and Ireland. Some viewers on the continent already lost access to Channel 5 and some BBC HD channels when Astra 2F went live.
The extent of the feared black-out in parts of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany and Scandinavia is yet to be seen, with satellite enthusiasts and British Expats waiting for the first channels to migrate.
According to satellite operator SES, "the satellite was built for SES by Astrium of France. Based on the highly reliable Eurostar E3000 platform, the spacecraft carries 60 Ku-band transponders, including 12 incremental transponders for delivery of services outside Europe, as well as 4 Ka-band transponders. ASTRA 2E enables the delivery of next generation broadcast and broadband services in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. ASTRA 2E, which had a launch mass of 6 tonnes, features a wingspan of 40m after its solar arrays have been deployed in orbit, and is designed to generate 13 kW of spacecraft power up to the end of its 15-year design lifetime."
04/02/2013: Sky services previously on Astra 2A (including Sky Movies) moved to Astra 2E
The BBC is switching satellites on 06/02/2014.