Advanced Television

Russia’s Express AM-3 satellite goes to graveyard

April 5, 2022

By Chris Forrester

According to observation data from Johnathan McDowell, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, the orbit for a Russian DTH satellite has been raised to a ‘graveyard’ orbit.

Express (Ekspress) AM-3, once transmitting what is described as ‘civilian’ television signalsand launched in June 2005, has been shifted from a standard geostationary orbit at about 35,786 kms to a new orbital height of almost 36,200 kms. The move happened on March 17th and means that the satellite is no longer active.

The satellite was operated by the Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) and carried – when new – a total of 29 transponders (16 in C-band, 12 in Ku-band and one transponder operating in the L-band).

It was launched aboard a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Its initial mission lifetime was expected to be 12 years which was well surpassed.

A satellite ‘graveyard’ orbit is a couple of hundred kilometres above the normal geostationary orbit. Satellites are placed into this higher operational orbit in order to minimise risk to ‘working’ satellites from collision.

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