Portsmouth firm prepares to send satellite to space

Astrium launches a new satellite tomorrow
Astrium launches a new satellite tomorrow
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A SATELLITE designed and built by a Portsmouth-based firm is set to be launched into orbit tomorrow.

Astrium, which has a base in the city, made the Astra 2E satellite for operator SES.

It will be launched into space at precisely 9.38pm tomorrow by an International Launch Services Proton launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan.

The satellite is based on Astrium’s Eurostar E3000 platform and will deliver next-generation broadcast and broadband services across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

It has a launch mass of six tonnes, and will have a wingspan of 40m when its solar arrays are deployed in orbit.

The device has a 15-year lifetime.

The launch and early orbit base operations will be conducted from the Astrium spacecraft control centre in Toulouse.

Astra 2E is due to be the seventh Eurostar satellite in the SES fleet, following the launch of SES-6 in June and Astra 2F in September last year.

As reported in July, engineers in Portsmouth celebrated the launch of a satellite eight years in the making.

Two satellites are undergoing tests in Astrium facilities.