Oct 282014

Astra 2G, the third and final new UK TV satellite is expected to launch from Baikonur on the 28th November 2014.

Astra 2G will replace the aging Astra 2A satellite, and will mean some reception changes for the affected Sky channels, for people in Spain and other areas of Europe.

This week the Astra 2G satellite was flown from France to Kazakhstan this week for pre-launch testing and fuelling.

However, the giant Russian Antonov aircraft carrying Astra 2G satellite to the Baikonur Cosmodrome was forced to make an emergency landing around 3am (GMT) October 28th at a remote airfield with a failed engine.

The aircraft engineers said the aircraft’s engine would be repaired and the flight resumed within a matter of hours.

The satellite, built by Airbus of France, is in a sealed, climate controlled, transportation container.

The owners of the aircraft, the Volga-Dnepr Group, say the valuable cargo was not damaged during the landing. However, sources at satellite owner SES suggest that the satellite has yet to be examined and expressed concern as to whether the inspection could take place at Baikonur, or whether the craft would have to be returned to Airbus for a full – and time-consuming – examination. This may delay the proposed launch on November 27th.

Sep 142014

Astra 2G Launch Date update


Astra 2G is the third and final new UK TV satellite.

It was expected to be launched earlier in 2014, but this has been delayed by politics (Ukraine situation) and another Proton rocket failure.

Astra 2G is now expected to launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome sometime in Q4 2014, most likely November or December.

This would mean that Astra 2G could be operational in February or March 2015.


Astra 2G is expected to have the same signal footprints for its satellite beams as its “sister” satellites Astra 2E and Astra 2F.

The British expat rumour mill has suggested that Astra 2G will mean expats in the south of Spain (Almeria, Costa del Sol, Malaga) and Portugal (Algarve) that lost their BBC and ITV channels in early 2014 will regain their channels. This is rumour an is not expected to happen.

a) Astra 2G has similar reception to that of Astra 2E and Astra 2F.

b) Why would the BBC and ITV channels move from their Astra 2E satellite to another satellite just to restore reception in south of Spain and Portugal?


Likewise, the rumours and scaremongering by some XBMC / Android box / Brit TV box / Costa Smart TV / IPTV boxes suggesting that this final new UK TV satellite will mean a total loss of all UK TV in Spain are also untrue. Just like it was totally untrue (well for my service area and most of Spain) for the previous two new UK TV satellites!

Aug 182014

International Launch Services (ILS) is the company contracted by Astra to launch the thirds and final new UK TV satellite, Astra 2G.

ILS generally use Russian Proton rockets for their launches.

Recently ILS has said that it had reduced its forecasted launch rate of Russian Proton rockets to three to four per year from seven to eight missions previously planned.

ILS has been suffering from two main issues that have put pressure on its launches.

The first is the spate of failures aboard the venerable Proton vehicle, all seemingly caused by disparate workforce-quality issues. These failures have occurred on Russian government missions but have nonetheless affected ILS, in large part by grounding the Proton.

The second is the rising tension between Russia and the West about Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. While this issue and the related Western sanctions against Russia have not yet forced ILS customers to cancel their launch plans, it has made it more difficult for ILS to regain traction in the market as it rebounds from the launch anomalies.

ILS expects to assemble a review board in September to assess the results of a Russian investigation into the May 2014 Proton failure. The review, Slack said, will likely permit Proton to return to commercial flights this autumn.

Slack said that under current planning, which could change, the Proton rocket is scheduled to return to flight starting in late September or early October with back-to-back launches for the Russian government.

Once these two launches are completed, there is likely will be room for two more Proton missions in 2014. He said ILS is likely to be assigned at least one of these, in which case it would launch the Astra 2G television satellite, owned by SES of Luxembourg.

Slack said it was too soon to determine ILS’s schedule after the SES launch until Proton’s overall manifest was made more clear by Russian government authorities.
So from this, we can expect the launch of Astra 2G to happen late 2014.


Sep 112013

Astra 2E News Update: 10/09/13 : Reports from Ukraine are saying that the launch of Astra 2E on the 16th / 17th September has again been delayed. “A technical problem was found during the final inspection of the rocket Proton carrying the satellite Astra 2E on the cosmodrome Baikonur, a source in the cosmodrome said. No new launch date has been mentioned, but rumours that the new launch date for Astra 2E is the 30th September, but nothing from official sources.

Jul 202013

BT Sport has revealed its schedule for the opening night.

BT Sport will launch its channels, – BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 2 – at 6pm on Thursday 1 August 2013.

BT Sport will launch with an hour-long live show which will welcome viewers to a new era of sports broadcasting.

Both channels will then broadcast live sporting action.

From 7pm BT Sport 1 will show the final of the Audi Cup at the Allianz Arena, where four of the world’s biggest footballing names – Manchester City, AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Sao Paulo take part in the prestigious pre-season friendly.

From 7pm BT Sport 2 will air live JP Morgan Rugby 7s, with Pool A action from Kingsholm as Gloucester Rugby, Bath Rugby, Exeter Chiefs and Worcester Warriors face off.

At 10pm, BT Sport 1 will once again be live from their studios at iCity, while BT Sport 2 airs live action from the WTA Southern California Open.