SES’ ASTRA 2F Satellite Begins Operations

SES S.A. announced that the ASTRA 2F satellite has successfully completed its in-orbit testing and is now fully operational and in commercial service at the orbital neighborhood of 28.2/28.5 degrees East. The 52nd SES satellite was successfully launched board an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, on September 28.

ASTRA 2F was built by Astrium in Toulouse using a Eurostar E3000 platform. The multi-mission satellite carries Ku-band and Ka-band payloads for the delivery of high-performance Direct-to-Home (DTH) and next generation broadband services in Europe and Africa. Of the spacecraft’s payload, 48 Ku-band transponders cover Europe and 12 Ku-band transponders are dedicated to sub-Saharan Africa, while 3 Ka-band transponders will allow SES Broadband Services to support download speeds of up to 20 Mbps.

ASTRA 2F is part of a larger fleet replacement and expansion programme at the 28.2/28.5 degrees East neighborhood, consisting of ASTRA 2E, 2F and 2G, that provides replacement and growth capacity for the UK and Ireland as well as for other services in and outside of Europe. ASTRA 2E and ASTRA 2G, also under construction with Astrium, are scheduled for launch in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

SES to Provide Satellite Broadband Services for Preliminary Elections in Burkina Faso
SES announced that its 100% owned affiliate SES Broadband Services will provide satellite broadband services for the parliamentary elections in Burkina Faso set to take place on December 2, 2012.

As part of the agreement with the Independent National Elections Committee (CENI) in Burkina Faso, SES Broadband Services and its partners Newtec, Access Sat and Unicom will provide satellite equipment and bandwidth to enable connectivity between the 45 electoral district offices, which serve as the hubs for 14,698 polling stations across the country, and the central election office in the capital, Ouagadougou. The system will be used for video conferencing, surveillance, Internet access and fast and secure communication of ballots.

SES Broadband Services will use satellite capacity on an SES satellite located at 5 degrees East and hardware and hub-infrastructure provided by Newtec. Installations of the VSAT terminals are carried out by Access Sat and the video and the LAN network equipment is supplied by Unicom.

“Satellite technology ensures connectivity for the remote sites in Burkina Faso and has the advantage of quick deployment and immediate coverage and availability. The deployed infrastructure can also be available after the electoral process to provide Internet access to schools, public offices and remote villages,” said Patrick Biewer, Managing Director, SES Broadband Services.

“The selected SES technology will facilitate a transparent electoral process, providing rapid and highly reliable data transfers. A series of innovations will also be introduced, including the use of biometrics for the voter registration. The selected satellite VSAT platform gives the advantage of quick deployment for fast transmission of electoral data from remote locations,” said Mr Barthelemy Kéré, President of the CENI.

Advantages of satellite technology include rapid, secure data collection, aggregation, transfer and verification; a stable, sustainable communication system between all the sites resulting in the improved security of the electoral process, plus the legacy of a top-tier communication system which can be re-used or redeployed.