Intelsat could have lost one of its latest satellites, IS-29e, with early reports saying it may have suffered a fuel leak.
The satellite is barely three years old, and operated from mid-Atlantic 50 degrees West position providing a bridge over the North Atlantic, and serving the Americas with Ku-band traffic and with significant Ka-band spot beams as well as 24 C-band transponders.
“Our Intelsat 29e satellite recently suffered an anomaly in the propulsion system that caused the satellite to lose Earth-lock. As designed, once earth lock is lost, the safety systems on the satellite system take over and shut down the communications payload,” said Intelsat. “As a result, our customers are currently experiencing an interruption in service. We have been in direct and active communications with all impacted customers to identify and implement service restoration plans. We are working closely with the satellite manufacturer, Boeing, to quickly resolve this issue and get our customers back on line as quickly as possible.”
Intelsat has moved most – if not all – of its users from IS-29’s location to 43 degrees West where it operates IS-32e and which has very similar coverage and has been ‘backing up’ IS-29e.
Intelsat IS-29e may not be insured. At the moment details are sketchy but it is known that the satellite was insured for its launch phase but that cover ended some time ago.
The satellite, one of Intelsat’s very latest ‘next generation’ craft was built by Boeing Satellite. There are reports that technicians will try and recover the craft from its current dilemma, but with fuel having being lost the very best that Intelsat could hope for would be a shorter operational life.