A major new U.S. built European direct broadcast spacecraft is undergoing checkout in space following launch from Cape Canaveral April 20 on a Lockheed Martin/International Launch Services Atlas V. The 9,950-pound SES Astra 1KR satellite replaces the original Alcatel Astra 1K lost in November 2002 when its ILS/Russian Proton booster put that spacecraft into a useless orbit, followed by a fiery re-entry that destroyed what at the time was the largest satcom ever built. A second ...

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