Boeing 376 HP spacecraft built for Societe Europeenne des Satellites
(SES) of Luxembourg, is scheduled for launch on Tuesday, Dec. 19, it
was announced today by Boeing Satellite Systems Inc., (BSS), a unit
of The Boeing Company .

ASTRA 2D will be launched aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from the
Guiana Space Center on the northeast coast of South America. The
43-minute launch window opens at 9:26 p.m. at the launch site (4:26
p.m. PST; 12:26 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, GMT).

ASTRA 2D is the first spin-stabilized satellite ordered by SES,
operator of Europe’s leading ASTRA direct-to-home (DTH) satellite
system. ASTRA 2D will become the eleventh operational satellite in the
SES fleet. The spacecraft was one of two that SES ordered from BSS in
August 1999 to help meet growing demand for digital satellite services
at SES’ second orbital slot, 28.2 degrees East. From that orbital
slot, ASTRA 2D will deliver digital DTH services to Great Britain and

“Boeing Satellite Systems is proud of its long and positive
relationship with SES,” said Tig H. Krekel, president of Boeing
Satellite Systems. “We’ve built seven of the 10 ASTRA spacecraft
currently in orbit, and we are building two more satellites right now
for SES as well.

“We’re equally proud to see ASTRA 2D preparing for launch,” Krekel
added, “because this Boeing 376 spin-stabilized spacecraft is one of
the most reliable and most purchased commercial communications
satellite models in the world.”

ASTRA 2D carries 16 active Ku-band transponders powered by 39-watt
traveling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs) manufactured at Boeing Electron
Dynamic Devices Inc., (EDD). Based in Torrance, Calif., EDD is the
leading provider of traveling wave tubes and TWTAs for the space,
military, and commercial communications markets.

The satellite’s power is derived from two telescoping cylindrical
solar panels manufactured in Sylmar, Calif., by Boeing’s Spectrolab
Inc. subsidiary, the leading manufacturer of space and terrestrial
solar power systems. The panels feature gallium arsenide solar cells
similar to those on many proven Boeing spacecraft.

At launch, the satellite will weigh 3,186 pounds; in orbit, ASTRA
2D will weigh 1,816 pounds. Once deployed, the cylindrical satellite
will be 26 feet 2 inches tall and 7 feet 1 inch in diameter with its
solar panels deployed. ASTRA 2D is designed to have 1600W of power at
beginning of life and 1400W of power at end of life.

Via 10 satellites at the orbital positions of 19.2 degrees East
and 28.2 degrees East, SES’ ASTRA system transmits in analog and
digital more than 1,030 different television and radio channels, as
well as multimedia and Internet services to an audience of more than
80 million homes in Europe. SES is also a strategic investor in the
leading Asian/Pacific AsiaSat Satellite System (34.13 percent since
January 1999), Scandinavian Sirius satellite operator Nordic Satellite
Company NSAB (50 percent since October 2000), and Brazilian Embratel
Satellite Division, operator of the Latin American Brasilsat system
(19.99 percent since October 2000).

BSS is the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial
communications satellites and a major provider of space systems,
satellites, and payloads for national defense, science and
environmental applications. The company was formed in October 2000
when The Boeing Company acquired the Hughes Electronics satellite
manufacturing companies, which included Hughes Space and
Communications Company, Hughes Electron Dynamics, Spectrolab Inc., and
Hughes Electronics’ 50 percent share of HRL Laboratories.

The Boeing Company, with headquarters in Seattle, is the largest
aerospace company in the world and the United States’ leading
exporter. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial
jetliners and military aircraft, and the largest NASA contractor. The
company’s capabilities in aerospace also include rotorcraft,
electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, launch
vehicles, and advanced information and communication systems. The
company has an extensive global reach with customers in 145 countries
and manufacturing operations throughout the United States, Canada and

TV Editors: Live video of the launch will be carried in English on
the GE-7 satellite, transponder 16. You are welcome to use the feed in
your news broadcasts.