ASTRA 1N satellite has entered commercial service
From SES Astra today:
ASTRA 1N was built by Astrium on the Eurostar E3000 platform and is equipped with 52 transponders in the Ku frequency band. The satellite was successfully launched on board an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana, on 6 August 2011. It had a launch mass of 5,325 kg and is the fourth Eurostar satellite in the 49 satellite-strong SES fleet.
ASTRA 1N greatly enhances the flexibility of the SES satellite fleet at the orbital slot 28.2 degrees East over Europe. ASTRA 1N is notably being used by Channel 4 and ITV. The new satellite will also allow SES to offer its satellite-based broadband service ASTRA2Connect via 28.2 degrees East and thus complement its service offer from the 23.5 degrees East position. ASTRA2Connect is Europe's largest satellite broadband network with more than 80,000 end users.
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NottsUK: My assumption is that everything is still in test, with experimentation on just how much or little forward-error-correction is required, and how reliable use of 8PSK will be. 8-phase-shift keying, as opposed to quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK), delivers three bits per symbol rather than two, but requires more signal-to-noise ratio for the same error-correcting code rate.
DVB-S2 also defines 16-APSK and 32-APSK, which require multiple amplitudes as well as changing the phase, but I wouldn't expect to see support in domestic receivers, as it's not mandatory.
I'll consider testing ended when a service is deleted from a 2A/2B/2D transponder, or an FTA service appears in the Freesat EPG.
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Heinz: That transponder does appear to be showing a test service. If it one that will finally be allocated to the Channel 4 corporation is unknown.
It is usual that when a "bird" reaches the correct orbital position, the whole device will undergo a period of testing.
This is largely because the users will expect a flawless service over the coming years. Al though each satellite contains redundant systems to allow parts of the system to fail, given the impossibility of repair, it is vital that testing it carried out before being used for public service.
Given the noises from Channel 5 about the launch of Channel 5+1, I think you may start seeing service up and running in three to four weeks.
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