European satellite operator SES Astra has revealed that it has awarded the contract for the design and build of its new broadcast spacecraft, Astra 3B, to EADS Astrium, a manufacturer of technology for use in outer space.
Astra 3B, which follows the Astrium-constructed Astra 2B and Astra 1M and is expected to be launched end of 2009, will be a state-of-the-art Ku- and Ka-band satellite intended for the distribution of both direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast services and two-way broadband services across Europe.
The satellite will have 52 transponders, of which 20 will replace existing in-orbit capacity and 32 will create new capacity, strengthening 23.5E as the third orbital hotspot for European DTH services.
Astra 3B will be built on a Eurostar E3000 platform, seven of which are currently in operation in orbit, while 10 more are at various stages of production.
Ferdinand Kayser, president and CEO of SES Astra, said: "We are very pleased to work with the Astrium team for the third time. Astra 3B will significantly strengthen our orbital position, which becomes increasingly attractive for DTH broadcasters across Europe. We look forward to developing this new generation of satellites, thus increasing our fleet for the benefits of our customers".
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