An Arianespace rocket launched two satellites into incorrect orbits back on January 25th. In the aftermath, potential insurance claims were reported for what Arianespace described at the time as a “trajectory deviation anomaly”.
While there has been no formal word on either the SES-14 satellite or YahSat-3 craft it is now being reported that Abu Dhabi-based YahSat will be making an insurance claim that could reach 50 per cent of the craft’s insured value. Potentially, this could include the actual launch cost as well as the cost for building the craft.
Specialist publication Satellite Finance is reporting the potential claim, which if it were to include insurance cover for its planned 15+ years of operational life, could be significant.
The two satellites were recovered within a few hours but the consequences of the Arianespace launch will mean that both satellites will have their on-orbit lives curtailed. They are using more of their precious on-board fuel in order to get to their target orbit.
Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer on February 16th told market analysts that its planned ‘Konnect Africa” broadband-by-satellite service, already extremely late in coming to market, would not start earning revenues much before this coming summer. Eutelsat has a significant contract in place with YahSat for capacity aboard YahSat-3 for the Konnect service.
SES-14 is an all-electric craft, but Al Yah-3 (YahSat-3) is a hybrid bi-propellant craft dependent on its main engine to raise its orbit and then fine-tuning its position with its on-board thrusters. Al Yah-3 is likely to be ready for work “later in 2018” according to a company statement made in February.
An investigation into the Arianespace launch problem which caused the orbital deviation said that incorrect data had been fed into the rocket’s flight guidance computers.