Telesat 14R good for just 12 years

Canada’s Telesat has been having major troubles with its Telstar 14R/Estrela do Sol-2 satellite launched back on May 24th. One of its solar arrays has failed to open correctly which has left the craft working at just 60 per cent of capacity, equal to about 32 transponders. The craft is expected to operate on station for about 12 years, and much less than originally designed.

Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg told analysts that the full impact of the problems had yet to be wholly calculated, but there would be an insurance claim. Telstar 14R carries 58 transponders and was designed to replace Telstar 14, which coincidentally also had a solar array problem and is expected to last only until the end of this year in a fully stabilised orbit having been launched in 2004. This 7-8 years orbital life is about half of that normally expected for similar satellites.

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