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Astra 2F is on its way

An Ariane rocket carrying the latest in a series of satellites that will provide the UK with satellite television has successfully launched into space.

The launch took place late on Friday evening (UK Time).

Once in orbit, the Astra 2F satellite operated by SES, will be positioned at 28.2 degrees East and join other satellites at that orbital position  providing services for Sky and Freesat viewers.

Astra 2F UK Spotbeam - Picture Credit: SES
UK spotbeam. Picture credit: SES
The satellite will bring much needed new and replacement UK spotbeam capacity, especially required  for free to air broadcasters to be able to restrict coverage for broadcast rights purposes.

For the past decade, UK spotbeam capacity has been limited, reducing the number of free-to-air ITV regions, for example. Astra 1N has during the past year been temporarily providing UK capacity ahead of the arrival of 2F.

Astra 2F will also have a seperate spotbeam aimed at West Africa, to supply that region with additional capacity, catering for a boom in satellite delivered broadcasts in several West African countries. Internet services will also be available for certain countries from the satellite.

Testing is expected to commence in around two weeks' time, followed by the launch of services by November/December. Some services are expected to migrate from Astra 1N, which was temporarily deployed to serve the UK at 28.2 degrees East, and plug the gap between Astra 2D being decommissioned and Astra 2E and F being launched. Astra 1N will ultimately be moved to serve mainland Europe from operator SES's other orbital position at 19.2 degrees East.

Astra 2E incidentally has not yet been launched. It is expected to launch and enter service next year.
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