Echostar III, an older member of the Echostar fleet, was last week being moved to a new orbital position and suffered an ‘anomaly’ according to Derek de Bastos, CTO at Echostar.
Built by Lockheed Martin and launched in 1997 the craft has already exceeded its 15-year design life and had been operating in an inclined orbit meaning that it was no longer being fully maintained in its original 62 degrees West where it operated successfully for 12 years. Lately it had been in the position of 87.3 degrees West.
Contacts with the satellite are interrupted and intermittent, said the company, which adds that it is working to regain contact with the satellite. If contact can be re-established the satellite will then be retired.
“EchoStar has received FCC authority for its current flight configuration and we are working in cooperation with the satellite manufacturer to re-establish a reliable link in order to recover and retire the spacecraft,” said Mr de Bastos. “In spite of the anomaly, we believe that the current EchoStar III orbit does not present a significant risk to the operating satellites in the geostationary arc.”
Echostar III is already fully depreciated and its loss – if confirmed – will not impact Echostar’s revenues.