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PanAmSat Puts Latest Satellite Woes In Perspective

By | July 17, 2003

      PanAmSat [Nasdaq: SPOT] officials explained this week that recent technical problems it is incurring with two of its Boeing 601 model satellites will not disrupt services to its customers or cause major financial fallout for the company.

      Insurance coverage should help to cushion PanAmSat from potential repercussions and backup systems onboard each spacecraft are designed to provide additional years of life for each faulty satellite. The satellites encountering problems with their electronic xenon ion propulsion systems (XIPS) that maintain the in-orbit position of the spacecraft are the PAS-IVR and Galaxy 6B.

      The minimum additional fuel life for each satellite ranges between 3 to 7.4 years beyond the time when the XIPS are no longer operable, PanAmSat officials said.

      Two separate XIPS are on each spacecraft and each unit is capable of maintaining the satellite in its intended position. As an additional form of redundancy, each of the five remaining Boeing 601 HP satellites operated by PanAmSat has an independent bi-propellant propulsion system for secondary use to extend the fuel life on the satellites, company officials said.

      PanAmSat officials acknowledged that the two satellites have “no book value” and no longer provide “primary customer service.”

      For more on this story, see the July 21 issue of SATELLITE NEWS. For more info on subscribing to PBI Media’s satellite newsletters, check out our Web site at

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