Malaysia’s Measat-3 satellite is believed to be a total loss and is drifting in an uncontrolled orbit through the geostationary arc. It might now be a ‘zombie satellite’ and start causing problems for other satellites in its path.
Its nominal position was at 91.5 degrees East. It is already at 86.4 degrees East on July 10th and drifting at 0.3 degrees per day.
The loss has also caused severe headaches for its clients; Astro DTH, for example, suffered transponder outages around June 21st and subsequently moved channels to other Measat satellites.
Measat-3 is a Boeing 601 craft launched in December 2006 and was due to be replaced with Measat-3D in 2022. As recently as June 27th Measat said there were still problems and that it needed more time to restore full services.
Satellites in its path include Russia’s Express 80, Thaicom 6 and 8, Apstar 7, ABS 2 and 2A, and a few Intelsat craft ( I-22, I-20, I-36 and I-17). Eutelsat 70B is also a potential problem at 70.5 degrees East.
Each of these craft will have the ability to manoeuvre out of harm’s way and the offending craft is being very closely monitored for any changes in its trajectory.