Saturday, 16 November 2013

Luxembourg cycling - SES Uplink Station Betzdorf

November has been rainy. Only occasionally the weather has been good enough for a bicycle ride. Last Sunday the rain stopped for few hours, and I could go to see something that I have been planning for long time. It was this:
SES Uplink Station!

SES is world's second largest satellite operator. They operate 54 geostationary satellites, that can reach 99% of the World's population. TV operators buy services from SES and they deliver around 6000 TV channels all over the world. To make this possible they need this Uplink Station located in Betzdorf, Luxembourg.

This is the view to the satellite station from the other side of the valley:
Reception guaranteed

And the other side (were I took the photo above) looks like this seen from the satellite station:

In 1988 SES launched its first satellite, Astra 1, that is still working on 19,2 degrees east. Astra became one of the most important platforms for TV channels in Europe. This is why most of the big dishes have the word "Astra" written on them. I have my own satellite dish in the back yard. With it I can receive hundreds of channels on 19,2 degrees east and much more.
That is some dish!

Winter sun enhance colours and lengthen shadows.
Shadow cyclist

This dish is probably 8 meters wide, or 10. Through this the signal goes up to the satellite, from where it is sent back to certain area on Earth. That area is called footprint of the satellite.
Astral bike

Stationary communications satellites, like Astra, are located 35 000 km above the Equator. Spy satellites are in the altitude of 1 000 km and Space shuttle is even lower, 160 km.
Major Tom, here's ground control

Passenger jets like Boeing 747 fly in the altitude of 10,5 km. This one is landing, maybe 500 meters only.
Plane to Flaxweiler

On the way back home, the sun surprised again.
Evening ride


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