Thor II goes to graveyard orbit

Telenor’s Thor II has been retired and placed in a graveyard orbit about 350 kms higher than the normal geostationary operational height in a six-day operation which wrapped on January 10th.

Thor II was launched on a Delta 11 rocket from Cape Canaveral in May 1997. It was the first satellite actually procured by Telenor Satellite Broadcasting which had earlier relied on an older Marco Polo craft made redundant by the merger of BSB and Sky Television into BSkyB. Thor 2 itself was replaced by Thor 5 in 2008 after 11 years service.

But it has had an eventful life since 2008, including being leased as a gap-filling satellite by Luxembourg’s SES which placed it at 5 degrees East in early 2008 in order to serve Viasat’s subscribers.

“Thor II was Telenor’s first procured communications satellite and facilitated the growth of Canal Digital’s DTH operations in the Nordic Region. The satellite was built by Hughes (now Boeing) and has been a reliable asset in space that has served us very well through its life in orbit”, said Cato Halsaa, VP/CEO of Telenor Satellite Broadcasting. “Furthermore, this satellite represents TSBc’s commercial foundation and for this reason it is fitting to commemorate its years of service at 1° West, which is now one of the fastest growing platforms for video distribution and serves more than 17 million households in the Nordic region and throughout Central and Eastern Europe”.

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