For a few days it looked as if the attempted rescue of Intelsat-19’s ‘stuck’ solar panel had worked. The panel was eventually released on June 12 and technicians then started testing and evaluating the precise position. Unfortunately the news is not good.
The ‘south’ solar panel in IS-19 has been found to be permanently damaged. The 13 days that the panel was in its un-deployed state, as well as the methods used to free the jammed device, plus any potential damage that could have occurred during the satellite’s launch process, have resulted in damage to the panel. The experts will continue to study how the damage could have happened.
However, the damage to the panel is not total. One specialist said that it could be that the solar panel’s electrical processing power might still manage 50 per cent of its output, which means the craft could generate around 75 per cent of its planned output.
The end result is that there will, inevitably, be an insurance claim for damage to the satellite. Intelsat officials will, meanwhile, be working out how to get the most out of the craft in what now will be a modified role.