SATMEX SATELLITE “IRRETRIEVABLY LOST”
Satelites Mexicanos SA de CV’s (Satmex) Solidaridad 1 satellite has ceased operation and is now considered “irretrievably lost” by the company. The loss was caused by the failure of the back-up control processor onboard the satellite.
Solidaridad 1 was built by Hughes Space and Communications and launched in 1994. It experienced a failure of its primary control processor in April 1999, and the satellite had been operating on its back-up processor ever since.
“Immediately following the failure of the back-up processor on August 27, Satmex began migrating Solidaridad 1’s customers to other Satmex satellites or to satellites operated by Loral Skynet, which, like Satmex, is a member of the Loral Global Alliance.”
These alternative satellites have sufficient capacity to cover all Solidaridad 1 customers, and so far 86 per cent of all utilised capacity and 95 per cent of all users had been migrated or assigned to other satellites. Engineers from both Satmex and Hughes continued efforts to recover the spacecraft over the next 48 hours. By Tuesday evening, the satellite’s battery power supply was exhausted and the satellite was declared a full loss.
Solidaridad 1 was insured for US$250 million (E278), and Satmex intends to apply the insurance proceeds towards the construction and launch of a replacement satellite as well as for debt service.
Based in Mexico City, Satmex is a joint venture between Loral Space & Communications, Principia (Mexico’s leading telecom company), and the Mexican government.