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Astra 2E starts move to home position

Satellite Astra 2E appears to be finally heading to its assigned orbital position, where it is expected to carry various Sky and Freesat channels for viewers in the UK and Ireland.

BBC services currently on Astra 1N are expected to move to Astra 2E once it is in service, but some viewers in continental Europe are set to lose access to the channels, with the new satellite promising to deliver a narrower spotbeam focused on the UK and Ireland, similar to Astra 2F's spotbeam, which left some viewers in Central Europe and southern Spain without Channel 5.

The BBC's Alix Pryde stated in December 2012 that BBC services currently on 1N would ultimately move to 2E.

Back then, Astra 2E was expected to go into service during summer 2013. An accident at the launch site days before Astra 2E was due to be carried into space resulted in a delay in getting the satellite into orbit.

Following a belated launch in September, Astra 2E has been held in orbit over the Indian Ocean while its owner SES moved one of its other satellites to a new position.

Now, reports from a number of satellite trackers indicate that 2E is moving westwards to 28.2 degrees East, joining the other satellites that currently provide Sky and Freesat viewers with TV and radio services.

It is currently not known when exactly Astra 2E will be in its assigned orbital position and when services will start migrating. In December, SES stated on Facebook that services would start migrating to Astra 2E in February.

Freesat and Sky viewers within the UK and Irish Republic will be largely unaffected by the satellite change, with just a short break in service expected when channels start to switch to Astra 2E. Astra 1N, which is currently holding the fort is widely anticipated to start heading to 19.2 degrees East joining the other Astra 1 satellites serving continental Europe.


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