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Thaicom 5 Anomaly Could Spur Procurement of Backup Satellite

By | April 22, 2011

      [Satellite TODAY Insider 04-22-11] The Thaicom 5 satellite experienced an anomaly April 20 that interrupted its satellite TV service, including six free TV stations aired on C-band frequencies, the operator confirmed April 21.
          At a press announcement, Thaicom CEO Arak Cholatanont said the blackout was due to an electrostatic discharge problem,. "We immediately identified the problem, and our engineers solved the issue three hours later. Fortunately, these glitches do not frequently occur on satellites. Thaicom 5 is still positioned at the 78.5 degrees East longitude orbital slot and had not fallen out of the slot as rumored," he said.
          Cholatanont also addressed other political rumors that spread quickly throughout the Thai media following the Thaicom 5 service outage. "There has been widespread speculation about political irregularities being part of this problem, which reflects on what happened last year during [Thailand’s] red-shirt rally. This is not true, and I hope this problem does not happen again."
          Thaicom operates two satellites – Thaicom 5 and the IpStar broadband satellite. Both satellites serve users in Asia, Europe, Australia and Africa. Thaicom 5 was launched in October 2006 to take over for the de-orbited Thaicom 3 satellite, which suffered a similar technical glitch with its power-supply system earlier that year.
          In a statement issued by the Thailand Information and Communications Technology Ministry following Cholatanont’s conference, Ministry Secretary Jirawan Boonperm said the problem would not have happened if Thaicom 5 had a backup satellite. "Thaicom and the ministry will soon enter talks to draw up specifications for a new joint-project satellite to be launched in 2013. This falls in line with the ministry’s plan to maintain the country’s right to reserve the two slots with the International Telecommunication Union.

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