Astra is the brand name for a number of geostationary communication satellites, both individually and as a group, which are owned and operated by SES S.A., a global satellite operator based in Betzdorf, in eastern Luxembourg. The name is also used to describe the pan-European broadcasting system provided by these satellites, the channels carried on them, and even the reception equipment.
From the launch of Astra 1A in 1988 the Astra satellites were owned and operated by Société Européenne des Satellites (SES). In 2001 SES Astra, a newly formed subsidiary of SES, operated the Astra satellites and in September 2011, SES Astra was consolidated back into the parent company.
Astra satellites broadcast nearly 2400 digital television and radio channels via five main satellite orbital positions to households across Europe and North Africa. The satellites have been instrumental in the establishment of satellite TV and the introduction of digital TV, HDTV, 3D TV, and HbbTV in Europe.
A book, High Above, telling the story of the creation and development of the Astra satellites and their contribution to developments in the European TV and media industry, was published in April 2010 to mark the 25th Anniversary of SES.
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... At the end of 2011, Astra satellitesatellitebroadcasts were received in over 142 million households in Europe 61.7 million households received Astraservices via a direct-to-home dish ... Another 66.1 million households received Astraservices via a cable headend, and 14.6 million households received Astraservices via an IPTV network ... The Astra satellitesatelliteconstellation was broadcasting 200 high definition TV channels ...