Intelsat 29e satellite considered a "total loss"



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After suffering damage in orbit two weeks ago, the Intelsat satellite communications company said its Intelsat 29e spacecraft was not recoverable.

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Render of the Intelsat 29e communications satellite in orbit. Image credit: Intelsat

Render of the Intelsat 29e communications satellite in orbit. Image credit: Intelsat

After suffering damage in orbit two weeks ago, the Intelsat satellite communications company said its Intelsat 29e spacecraft was not recoverable.

Intelsat 29e, located in a geostationary orbit some 35,000 kilometers above sea level, cost the company more than $ 400 million. He has been serving his clients since its launch in January 2016.

"On April 7, the Intelsat 29e propulsion system sustained damage that caused the propellant to leak on board the satellite, disrupting service to satellite customers," says Intelsat on April 18. 2019. "While we were working on satellite recovery, a second anomaly occurred, after which all efforts to recover the satellite failed."

Intelsat 29th as seen before its launch in January 2016. Photo credit: Boeing

Intelsat 29th as seen before its launch in January 2016. Photo credit: Boeing

Although it is not known exactly what happened, ExoAnalytic Solutions' April 12 images showed debris coming out of the spacecraft over a period of hours. In addition, Intelsat 29th is moving away from its niche of about one degree a day to the east, according to Ars Technica.

Since the satellite was irretrievable, Intelsat indicated that it was working to transfer customer service to other satellites in the region. For the moment, it is not known if the anomaly will affect other satellites in geostationary orbit.

"The migration and restoration of services are going well; highlighting the resilience of Intelsat's fleet and the benefits of the strong Ku-band open architecture ecosystem, "says Intelsat's statement.

Launched on January 27, 2016 at the top of an Ariane 5 rocket of the Guiana Space Center in South America, the satellite was placed in a geostationary transfer orbit. He then used onboard propellers to circle his orbit and fit into his 50 degrees west longitude over North and South America.

Intelsat 29e was built on the Boeing 702MP platform and was the first of the next-generation EpicNG broadband satellites.

The satellite weighed 14,555 pounds (6,552 kg) at launch and measured approximately 24.6 meters by 9.8 meters by 6.6 feet (7.5 meters by 3 meters by 2 meters). These are two solar panels that produce about 15.8 kilowatts of energy. It has been designed to last at least 15 years in orbit.

According to Intelsat, it operates a fleet of more than 50 satellites around the world and plans in the short term to launch two more: Intelsat 39 at the top of an Ariane 5 later in 2019 and the Galaxy 30 some share in 2020.

Video provided by ExoAnalytic Solutions

Video provided by SpaceFlight Insider

Tagged: Boeing Intelsat Intelsat 29th Main Stories

Derek Richardson

Derek Richardson is a graduate in mass media with a specialization in contemporary journalism from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. When he was in Washburn, he was the editor of the newspaper led by students, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog on the International Space Station called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter.

His passion for space was ignited when he watched the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery in space on October 29, 1998. Today, this fervor is still alive. is accelerated to orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After attending math and engineering courses at the university, he quickly realized that his true calling was to communicate with others about the space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to improve the quality of our content and ultimately become our editor-in-chief. @TheSpaceWriter

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