Russian pay-TV operator Tricolor has been forced to rent an emergency back-up satellite to keep its channels on air. The satellite, DirecTV 1R, rented from DirecTV in the USA by Russia’s Satellite Communications Co (RSCC), came into use on January 21st at 56 degrees East. Tricolor is waiting for the launch of a new satellite.
The rented satellite has been in a controlled drift from 101 degrees West to its new position where it arrived before Christmas. The satellite was launched in 1999 so is close to its ‘end of life’ design-life. It will operate in an inclined orbit. Bonum-1 is also nearing its ‘end of life’ design, hence the need for back-up.
The headache for Tricolor has been created because of the delayed launch of Express-AT1 which is now not expected to arrive on station towards the end of this year. When it does arrive then DirecTV 1R will be retired to a graveyard orbit, says DirecTV.