SpaceX Successfully Launches SES Broadcast Satellite

By Lydia Amazouz Published on June 21, 2024 08:30
Spacex Successfully Launches Ses Broadcast Satellite

SpaceX has successfully launched the Astra 1P satellite for Luxembourg-based fleet operator SES. This satellite is set to replace four older broadcast satellites over Europe, ensuring SES can continue its broadcast services well into 2040.

The launch represents a significant milestone for both SES and SpaceX, showcasing their ongoing collaboration and commitment to advancing satellite technology.

Launch Details and Timeline

The Falcon 9 rocket carrying Astra 1P lifted off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 5:35 p.m. Eastern on June 20, 2024. This launch followed two delays due to adverse weather conditions, highlighting the challenges of coordinating space missions amidst unpredictable elements.

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Approximately 35 minutes post-launch, the satellite was successfully placed into geostationary transfer orbit. Notably, the rocket’s first stage landed on the drone ship "Just Read the Instructions" in the Atlantic Ocean, marking the 320th successful landing of an orbital-class rocket by SpaceX. This routine yet remarkable feat underscores SpaceX's proficiency in reusable rocket technology, a cornerstone of their strategy to reduce the costs of space access.

The Astra 1P Satellite

The Astra 1P satellite, constructed by Thales Alenia Space, is a state-of-the-art geostationary satellite designed to modernize and enhance SES's broadcasting capabilities. This satellite will occupy the orbital slot at 19.2 degrees East, a prime location for broadcasting services. Astra 1P is equipped with Ku-band capacity, which will replace the aging fleet of four satellites currently operating in this position.

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Spacex F9 Astra 1p Ses 24

This upgrade will enable SES to continue providing high-quality TV services to approximately 119 million households in Germany, Spain, and France. The satellite will spend the majority of 2024 utilizing its onboard electric propulsion system to reach its designated orbital slot, followed by comprehensive health checks to ensure it is fully operational by January.

SES and SpaceX: A Long-standing Partnership

SES's relationship with SpaceX dates back to 2013 when they became the first commercial satellite operator to launch with SpaceX. This pioneering step was followed by another milestone in 2017 when SES was the first to use a previously flown booster.

The booster used for the Astra 1P launch had an impressive history, having flown eight times prior, including missions for SpaceX's Starlink broadband constellation. This continued partnership exemplifies the trust and synergy between the two companies, leveraging SpaceX's innovative launch capabilities and SES's leadership in satellite communications.

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Future Plans and Industry Trends

The satellite TV market is experiencing significant shifts due to the rise of online streaming services. Traditional broadcast operators like SES are adapting by expanding their focus on broadband services to meet the escalating demand for data connectivity.

Reflecting this strategic shift, SES announced a $3.1 billion plan to acquire rival satellite operator Intelsat. This acquisition aims to strengthen SES's position in the increasingly competitive market for satellite-based connectivity services, where companies like Starlink are rapidly expanding their influence.

Additionally, SES has ordered the Astra 1Q satellite from Thales Alenia Space, scheduled for launch in 2026. Unlike the Astra 1P, Astra 1Q is a software-defined satellite, meaning it can be reprogrammed to support various missions and connectivity needs. This flexibility allows SES to adapt to changing market demands and technological advancements, ensuring long-term viability and competitiveness.

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The successful launch of the Astra 1P satellite marks a significant milestone in the enduring partnership between SpaceX and SES. This mission not only secures continued high-quality broadcast services for millions of European households but also exemplifies the advancements and adaptability required in the evolving satellite communications industry. As the landscape shifts towards greater demand for broadband and versatile connectivity solutions, both SpaceX and SES are well-positioned to lead and innovate in this dynamic field.


An editor specializing in astronomy and space industry, passionate about uncovering the mysteries of the universe and the technological advances that propel space exploration.

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