Eutelsat craft a total loss?

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Eutelsat is expected to confirm that its brand-new satellite, Eutelsat 5 West B craft, may be a total loss. Eutelsat is due to reveal its latest (Q1) set of results on October 30th, and will update the market with the precise state of health of the craft.

The satellite has suffered a failure of one of its solar arrays, and without the power the array is designed to provide the Northrop Grumman-built satellite is impossible to function as designed.  The other array is working correctly.

It is possible that ground-based technicians will be able to deploy the “stuck” array, and similar events in the past have been resolved satisfactorily.

Although the satellite is fully insured for $192.4 million, there is another probable loss in that the craft was also carrying an extra payload in the shape of the European Commission’s (EGNOS) Global Navigation Satellite System’s Galileo GPS overlay.  This particular aspect of the craft is worth a contracted €102 million over a planned 18-year lifetime.

As to Eutelsat’s 5-WB loss, the satellite was expected to continue generating at least €30 million annually from its 5 degree West location.

Eutelsat is also expected to explain how it will replace the planned capacity, perhaps by moving an underused satellite to the 5 degrees West position.


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