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Satellite Fails to Reach Proper Orbit

Article written: 17 Mar , 2008
Updated: 26 Dec , 2015
by

Just a quick piece of sad news. SES Americom reported that its AMC-14 satellite failed to reach its orbit on Saturday after it was launched by a Russian Proton Breeze-M rocket. Despite the failure, though, there might be hope that the satellite will be broadcasting HD television eventually.

The company said that the problem happened during the second burn of the fourth stage, and resulted in the satellite – built by Lockheed Martin – not reaching its geostationary transfer orbit.

With this failure, the company has suspended plans to ship the next satellite to the launch site, and its April launch will be postponed until a thorough investigation can be done. Dish Network was originally planning to lease the entire capacity of the satellite to increase the number of high-definition television channels that it broadcasts. They were planning to launch three new satellites in 2008.

It’s not a hopeless situation, however. SES Americom president Edward Horowitz said he’s working with Lockheed Martin engineers to figure out a way to get AMC-14 back into its correct orbit. The downside is that the fuel used to get the satellite into its proper orbit will shorten its broadcast lifetime, since it’ll have less fuel for station keeping.

Original Source: SES Americom News Release


2 Responses

  1. Theo says

    It would seem to me a slow set of “thrusster nudges” would move it finally into orbit. In the way reduced gravity once the satellite is accelerated somewhat it would glide on that nudge until another nudge is needed. Not the fastest way in the world but one is exchanging fuel to time to final orbit.

  2. Darren says

    You’ll need a lot more than a “nudge”…it was off by something like 10,000 Km. There is enough fuel on board to get it to the proper orbit but it will significantly reduce the life expectancy of the satellite. One of my colleagues was the test conductor for that launch…it’s always a bummer when you put so much time into a project only to have it fail because of something you can’t control…at least it didn’t blow up!

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