SES has a significant problem with its AMC-9 satellite which serves the US and Mexico and the Caribbean. The craft was launched in June 2003.
SES says it is working closely with the manufacturer (Alcatel/Thales) to establish the cause of the anomaly and is “evaluating all satellite recovery options”. The full impact of the anomaly is still being assessed.
The operator adds that in the event that the spacecraft cannot be recovered, the potential impact on SES’s full year 2017 group revenue could be up to €20 million. In this event, it would also be expected to result in a one-off impairment charge of €38 million.
The problem occurred on the morning of June 17th, and SES says it took immediate action in contacting all customers and is working to transfer services to alternative satellite capacity in order to minimise disruption.
AMC-9 (which was originally a GE Americom craft (GE-12) and launched by International Launch Services on a Proton rocket. The satellite uses the normally highly reliable Alcatel Spacebus-3000B3 platform. It has 24 C-band transponders and 24 Ku-band transponders, and operates from 83 degree West orbital position. It was built with a planned 15 years expectation of life, although most satellites are managed to extend this life-span beyond their designed life in orbit.