Astra 2F is one of the Astra communications satellites owned and operated by SES, launched in September 2012 to the Astra 28.2°E orbital slot. The satellite provides free-to-air and encrypted direct-to-home (DTH) digital TV and satellite broadband services for Europe and Africa.
Astra 2F is the first of three ‘second generation’ satellites for the 28.2°E position which replace the first generation Astra 2A, Astra 2B and Astra 2D craft previously there. The second, Astra 2E, was launched in 2013 and the third, Astra 2G, was launched in 2014 (launched on December 27, 2014). Some parts of the construction of Astra 2F by Astrium (now Airbus Defence and Space) in Stevenage, UK could be seen in the BBC2 documentary programme, How To Build… A Satellite broadcast on November 27, 2011.
Astra 2F was successfully launched from Kourou in French Guiana on September 28, 2012. and underwent in-orbit testing at 43.5°E. Commercial operations at 28.2°E began on November 21, 2012.
The Astra 28.2°E position was established in 1998 to provide digital TV, digital radio and multimedia services to the UK and Republic of Ireland, and Astra 2F’s primary mission is to continue this provision as replacement and follow-on capacity to the Astra 2A, Astra 2B, Astra 2D and Astra 1N satellites, delivering programming to almost 13 million satellite homes, over 3 million cable homes, and 700,000 IPTV homes in the UK and Ireland, in particular for channels from the major UK digital satellite TV platforms, BSkyB and Freesat.
In addition, Astra 2F serves the growing DTH platforms in West Africa such as Ghana’s MultiTV.
Astra 2F is also designed to provide SES Broadband’s first commercial Ka-band satellite broadband service in Europe, with a Ka-band payload delivering high-speed Internet access (at download speeds up to 20Mbit/s) along with VoIP, and IPTV from November 2012.
Astra 2F has three Ku-band downlink beams covering Europe and Africa. The Europe beam is centred on the English Channel with maximum signal (for reception on a 40 cm dish) over the UK, Ireland, France, Benelux, and parts of Germany, Austria, and Spain (including a "lobe" specifically designed to serve the Canary Islands which officially requires a 120 cm dish but in practise is easily receivable using a 90 cm dish as with Astra 2E), and reception on a 1m dish extending to North Africa, Poland and the Balkans.
The UK Spot beam provides maximum signal (40 cm dishes) over the UK, Ireland, Benelux and Northern France in close approximation of the UK Beam of Astra 2D, which it replaces. Due to the tight footprint, some reception issues for UK channels are being reported in Spain as of December 2012. Early reports of test transmissions on 11.023 GHz H 23000 DVB-S2 suggest the beam is very tight with a very sharp fall off to the west and east of the footprint, but eastern Spain seems to be getting a higher signal strength possibly due to the off-axis beam as 28.2°E on the geostationary arc is not directly in line with the UK but offset to the east.
The West Africa beam provides for reception with 60 cm dishes across southern West Africa from Senegal to Nigeria, with a lower signal level (80 cm dishes) extending across the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Ka-band footprint for satellite broadband provides full service coverage across western Europe from the UK and France in the west to Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia and Boznia Herzegovina in the east.
Below is a list of the TV channels broadcast from active transponders on Astra 2F as of July 2015:
In the list, channels broadcast with a one-hour delay are shown Channel +1hr. Where both the original and the delayed channel are broadcast from the same transponder, this is shown in one entry as Channel [also +1hr].