Autor Wątek: [SN] Intelsat-29e satellite suffers fuel leak, spotted drifting along GEO arc  (Przeczytany 214 razy)

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Intelsat-29e satellite suffers fuel leak, spotted drifting along GEO arc
by Caleb Henry — April 10, 2019, Updated at 4:45 p.m. MT.


Intelsat-29e is the second Boeing-built Epic-series satellite to suffer a propulsion issue, following Intelsat-33e in 2016. Credit: Boeing.

COLORADO SPRINGS — Intelsat’s first Epic-series high-throughput satellite, Intelsat-29e, is drifting in orbit after back-to-back anomalies, forcing the company to shift customers to other spacecraft.

Intelsat said April 10 that the propulsion system on the three-year-old satellite “experienced damage” — the cause of which it did not identify — resulting in a fuel leak.

While attempting to restore services from the satellite, Intelsat said a second problem surfaced that resulted in a loss of communications with the satellite.

Intelsat said its connection with Intelsat-29e has been intermittent, and that it is working with Boeing, the manufacturer of the satellite, on restoring uninterrupted communications. The fuel leak occurred April 7, Intelsat said.

Commercial space situational awareness company ExoAnalytic Solutions said its network of ground-based telescopes identified debris around Intelsat-29e on April 8.

Doug Hendrix, ExoAnalytic’s chief executive, told SpaceNews two prominent pieces of debris were identified April 10, but that the company can’t determine it they are frozen fuel or something else.

“What we’re confident in saying is they’ve had an anomaly; they have announced an anomaly. We believe that we have seen debris come off of the satellite,” he said at the 35th Space Symposium here.



Exoanalytic Solutions’ depiction of the Intelsat-29e anomaly was on display at the 35th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 10. (Keith Johnson/SpaceNews)

Intelsat said it “will not make a determination of financial impact until the conclusion of the recovery mission.”

In a statement, ExoAnalytic said Intelsat 29e was “in a geostationary orbit at 50 [west] longitude until April 8, when it began tumbling and drifting to the east” along the geostationary arc where most telecom satellites reside.

Intelsat-29e is the second Intelsat Epic satellite to experience a propulsion anomaly. In 2016, Intelsat-33e suffered a thruster issue that insurers estimated could shave 18 months off its design life. Boeing built five of the six Intelsat Epic satellites, and supplied the payload for Intelsat-32e, which used a bus from Airbus Defence and Space.


Source: https://spacenews.com/intelsat-29e-satellite-suffers-fuel-leak-spotted-drifting-along-geo-arc/

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Stricken with fuel leak, Intelsat 29e seen drifting in geostationary orbit
April 15, 2019 Stephen Clark [SFN]

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqPrVn71IqY" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqPrVn71IqY</a>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqPrVn71IqY

A Boeing-built Intelsat communications satellite launched three years ago is drifting in geostationary orbit after suffering a fuel leak and releasing debris fragments last week, according to an analysis by space surveillance experts.

Ground-based telescopes operated by ExoAnalytic Solutions, a commercial company that tracks objects in space with a network of optical telescopes, show the Intelsat 29e communications satellite is tumbling, leaking propellant and drifting through the geostationary arc, where numerous communications satellites are stationed more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.

The telescopic imagery also appears to show several pieces of debris came off the satellite last week, according to Bill Therien, executive vice president of engineering at ExoAnalytic Solutions.

In an April 10 statement, Intelsat said the Intelsat 29e spacecraft “experienced damage” on April 7 that resulted in a propellant leak. The event knocked Intelsat 29e out of service, and Intelsat said it was moving customers to other Intelsat satellites and third-party services to mitigate the outage, which affects maritime, aeronautical and wireless operator customers in the Latin America, Caribbean and North Atlantic regions.

In an interview with Spaceflight Now late Friday, Therien said ExoAnalytic’s sensors detected a change in the brightness of Intelsat 29e on April 8, suggesting the spacecraft was tumbling. Tracking data collected by ExoAnalytic also showed the satellite began drifting east from its operational position around the same time.

Intelsat said Intelsat 29e experienced a second anomaly April 9 that caused a loss of communication with the satellite. On April 10, ExoAnalytic’s sensors detected a piece of debris coming off the satellite, followed by more fragments over the next couple of days, Therien said.

“Communication with the satellite has been intermittent,” Intelsat said in a statement. “Intelsat continues to work with the satellite’s manufacturer, Boeing, on recovering communication.”

Therien said the largest of the debris seen coming off Intelsat 29e is no more than a meter, or about 3.3 feet, in size. A shower of smaller particles observed by ExoAnalytic could be fuel leaking out of the satellite’s propellant tanks, or pieces of the spacecraft itself, Therien told Spaceflight Now.



The Intelsat 29e satellite is prepared for encapsulation inside the Ariane 5 rocket’s payload fairing ahead of its launch in January 2016. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – P. Piron

Intelsat 29e was launched Jan. 27, 2016, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana for a planned 15-year mission. Based on the Boeing 702MP satellite design, Intelsat 29e was positioned in geostationary orbit at 50 degrees west longitude, where its thrusters kept the satellite parked over the same geographic region, with the spacecraft’s orbital velocity matching the rate of Earth’s rotation.

Since beginning commercial service three years ago, Intelsat 29e provided C-band video and data distribution services over South America, and beamed Ku-band signals across the Americas, including aeronautical routes over the North Atlantic, where passengers received live television and broadband Internet through the satellite.

Intelsat 29e was the first craft to launch in a new generation of Intelsat satellites known as the “Epic” series, which are capable of routing more data than earlier satellite models.

Engineers continue studying the cause of the anomaly on Intelsat 29e, and officials have not said whether the problem originated within the spacecraft or from a collision with a micrometeoroid or a piece of space junk.

The behavior of Intelsat 29e is reminiscent of failures aboard the AMC 9 and Telkom 1 communications satellites in 2017. Both of those satellites shed debris after suffering sudden anomalies in geostationary orbit.

AMC 9 and Telkom 1 — built by Thales Alenia Space and Lockheed Martin, respectively — were near the end of their service lives when those failures occurred, while Intelsat 29e is still a relatively young spacecraft.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/04/15/stricken-with-fuel-leak-intelsat-29e-seen-drifting-in-geostationary-orbit/

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Intelsat declares drifting satellite total loss
April 22, 2019 Stephen Clark [SFN]


Workers mount the Intelsat 29e communications satellite atop an Ariane 5 launcher in French Guiana on Jan. 18, 2016, in preparation for its launch later that month. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace – Photo Optique Video du CSG – JM Guillon

Intelsat has declared the Intelsat 29e communications satellite a total loss after the Boeing-built spacecraft suffered a fuel leak and shed debris in geostationary orbit, three years into a planned 15-year mission.

The global telecom satellite operator announced last week that the Intelsat 29e spacecraft could not be recovered after multiple anomalies earlier in the month.

“Late on April 7, the Intelsat 29e propulsion system experienced damage that caused a leak of the propellant on board the satellite resulting in a service disruption to customers on the satellite,” Intelsat said in a statement. “While working to recover the satellite, a second anomaly occurred, after which all efforts to recover the satellite were unsuccessful.”

Ground-based telescopes aimed at geostationary orbit, an orbital zone roughly 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) over the equator, revealed that Intelsat 29e was tumbling and shedding debris. Officials have not announced a cause for the accident, which will leave Intelsat 29e drifting uncontrolled through the geostationary arc, home to numerous commercial and military communications satellites, weather observatories and missile warning craft.

“A failure review board has been convened with the satellite’s manufacturer, Boeing, to complete a comprehensive analysis of the cause of the anomaly,” Intelsat said.

The behavior of Intelsat 29e in recent weeks was reminiscent of failures aboard the AMC 9 and Telkom 1 communications satellites in 2017. Both of those satellites shed debris after suffering sudden anomalies in geostationary orbit.

AMC 9 and Telkom 1 — built by Thales Alenia Space and Lockheed Martin, respectively — were near the end of their service lives when those failures occurred, while Intelsat 29e was still a relatively young spacecraft.

Based on the Boeing 702 satellite platform, Intelsat 29e launched Jan. 27, 2016, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket for a planned 15-year mission.

Valued at roughly $400 million when it launched, Intelsat 29e was positioned in geostationary orbit at 50 degrees west longitude, where its thrusters kept the satellite parked over the same geographic region, with the spacecraft’s orbital velocity matching the rate of Earth’s rotation.

Since beginning commercial service three years ago, Intelsat 29e provided C-band video and data distribution services over South America, and beamed Ku-band signals across the Americas, including aeronautical routes over the North Atlantic, where passengers received live television and broadband Internet through the satellite.

Intelsat 29e was the first craft to launch in a new generation of Intelsat satellites known as the “Epic” series, which are capable of routing more data than earlier satellite models.

Officials from ExoAnalytic Solutions, a commercial company that tracks objects in space with a network of optical telescopes, said their data indicated Intelsat 29e was drifting to the east from its operating position at 50 degrees west.

Intelsat said a majority of the services provided by Intelsat 29e have been restored through other Intelsat satellites and third-party spacecraft.


Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/04/22/intelsat-declares-drifting-satellite-total-loss/

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Intelsat pins Intelsat-29e failure on external event, readies replacement order
by Caleb Henry — July 31, 2019 [SN]


Intelsat hopes to have a replacement satellite ordered around the end of the year. Credit: Intelsat

WASHINGTON — Intelsat says a micrometeoroid impact or an electrostatic discharge coupled with a “harness flaw” are the most likely reasons its first high-throughput satellite suffered a mission-ending failure in April.

Intelsat said July 30 that the failure review board it created with Boeing, manufacturer of the Intelsat-29e satellite, and a team of independent experts concluded the other six Boeing 702 Medium Power Series satellites in Intelsat’s fleet have a slim chance of experiencing the same problem.

“We have completed an assessment and concluded that there is a very low risk of a similar event occurring on our other Boeing 702 MP satellites,” Intelsat said in its quarterly earnings report.

Boeing, in a statement provided to SpaceNews, reiterated that conclusion.

“We believe that the anomaly started with an under-voltage event (i.e., a short circuit),” Boeing said by email. “The ultimate cause is still unclear, but the most likely candidates are either a harness issue in conjunction with an electrostatic discharge (ESD) event or a micrometeoroid strike to a critical harness.

“We believe that other similar spacecraft on orbit are at low risk of experiencing the same sequence of events. Nevertheless, as a precaution, we are incorporating information gained from the investigation to other spacecraft, as appropriate.”

Intelsat-29e was launched in January 2016 aboard an Ariane 5 rocket and entered service about two months later. It was designed to last at least 15 years.

Intelsat Chief Executive Stephen Spengler said Intelsat is standing by its initial estimate that the satellite’s failure will cost the company $45 million to $50 million in lost revenue this year. Intelsat is still projecting $2 billion to $2.06 billion in total revenue for 2019, down from $2.06 billion to $2.12 billion when Intelsat-29e was operational.

Intelsat reported $509 million in revenue for the three months ended June 30, down $28 million from the same quarter last year. The company recorded a $382 million asset impairment charge for the loss of the uninsured Intelsat-29e satellite, resulting in a net loss for the quarter of $530 million.


Replacement satellite

Spengler said Intelsat is preparing for “quick procurement” of a replacement for Intelsat-29e that will fit within the company’s previously stated capital expenditure guidance, which allots $250 million to $300 million for 2019.

New high-throughput satellites offer much better cost per megabit, he said, have more responsive capacity, and can be built in shorter time spans than Intelsat-29e.

“Our objective is to get to an order for one of these satellites on or about the end of this year, or a little bit after,” Spengler said. “We are very much on the path to doing that.”

To fill the gap Intelsat-29e’s loss left over North America, Intelsat is moving a Ku-band satellite it has over Africa, Spengler said. Intelsat is looking at other ways to use its fleet of roughly 50 satellites, as well as satellites from other operators, to backfill Intelsat-29e’s lost capacity, he said.

Along with using capacity from SES and other operators, Intelsat has relied on another of its high-throughput Epic series satellites, Intelsat-37e, to pick up the slack, Spengler said.

Intelsat cited the failure of Intelsat-29e in explaining its $400 million reduction in business backlog to $7.5 billion during the quarter.


C-band crunchtime

Spengler said indications from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission are that a decision on how to repurpose satellite C-band spectrum for terrestrial 5G will likely come this fall.

Intelsat and the other members of the C-Band Alliance — SES, Eutelsat and Telesat — have proposed selling 200 megahertz mainly used for television broadcasting to companies who want to use the spectrum for 5G networks.

The FCC is considering at least two other C-band plans — one from T-Mobile that would repurpose all 500 megahertz, and one from Charter, ACA Connects and Competitive Carriers Association that would repurpose 370 megahertz.

As a deal sweetener, the C-Band Alliance is now offering to give a portion of any proceeds to the U.S. government if its plan is selected. T-Mobile and the ACA Connects Coalition have made similar offers.

“We are willing to make a contribution to the U.S. Treasury as part of a transaction,” Spengler said. “We won’t let something easily addressable stand in the way of adopting our proposal.”

Proceeds from the sale of C-band could be as high as $60 billion, according to ACA Connects.

Spengler said it is too soon to say how much the C-Band Alliance would give to Treasury. Intelsat will also have to pay taxes on any proceeds to the U.S. government and the government of its home country, Luxembourg, he said.

Acknowledging the pressure for more C-band spectrum, Spengler indicated it could eventually clear more than 200 megahertz of satellite spectrum for terrestrial 5G as more broadcasters to upgrade to High Efficiency Video Coding, a compression technology that permits the transmission of 4K and 8K ultra-HD television signals without hogging bandwidth.

“We’re committed to finding a way to clear more spectrum — which is the FCC’s objective — [and] to maintaining quality of customer networks, and we will do what we can to balance those goals to the best of our ability,” Spengler said.


Source: https://spacenews.com/intelsat-pins-intelsat-29e-failure-on-external-event-readies-replacement-order/