The February 1st launch failure of a giant Intelsat satellite is likely to cost the insurance industry up to $400 million, according to sources. The loss will be made up by the high value of the satellite, but the extra sums are likely to be cost of the failed launch, plus the craft’s actual insurance premium. The high value comes about because I-27 was also carrying a military cargo in the form of special UHF transponders for the government of Italy.
A Russian and Ukrainian-built rocket (Zenith-3SL version) failed just 40 seconds after launch from the floating Sea Launch platform in the Pacific Ocean.
The Boeing-built Intelsat-27 was a total loss meaning that Intelsat has now to fall back on the existing – but old – Intelsat 805 and Galaxy-11 satellites. Intelsat-805 was itself launched in 1998, while Galaxy-11 was launched a year later in 1999. Galaxy-11, however, is already suffering from a manufacturing fault with reduced power from its solar arrays. Intelsat’s predecessor PanAmSat claimed $130 million in insurance compensation for the problems.