Mexican sat-operator vulnerable to launch failure
December 11, 2012
This past weekend’s ILS/Proton rocket launch problems have placed Satmex, the next planned launch client, into an extremely dangerous position. Russia’s Proton Briz-M upper stage failed to reach its intended orbit, and placed its satellite into a lower orbit than intended. All planned further launches will now be subject to further delays. This will severely impact Satmex which urgently needs its new Satmex-8 craft on station given that Satmex-5, which it is intended to replace, is running out of fuel.
Russia’s Proton+Briz-M upper stage has now failed for the third time in 16 months, and is creating serious worries that the past two investigations have not addressed core workmanship issues.
Satmex-8 was originally scheduled for launch on December 28th, but that will inevitably slip. The risk for Satmex is that any delay beyond a few days could impact the relationship it has with clients.