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ILS Denies Any Role In SuperBird-6 Post-Launch Glitch

By | May 25, 2004

      McLean, Va.-based International Launch Services is leaving no doubt that it is blame-free in any post-launch problems currently occurring with Japan’s Superbird-6 communications satellite.

      The unqualified denial from ILS was spurred by acknowledgement from the satellite’s manufacturer, The Boeing Co. [BA], that the spacecraft was launched into a lower-than-intended orbit, and that it needed to expend additional fuel to reach proper orbit.

      “The Atlas IIAS launched the Superbird satellite to the precise orbital position which had been provided to ILS by Boeing…before the launch,” said Michelle Lyle, vice president of communications at ILS. “Independent data has subsequently confirmed that the Atlas IIAS performed flawlessly and met all contractual requirements.”

      In addition, no Boeing officials have notified ILS of any issues or concerns regarding the Superbird-6 spacecraft or the launch, Lyle continued.

      The satellite was built to last 13 or 14 years but it now only has 12 years of fuel life on board after using some of its supply to reach the required super-synchronous orbit, said Marta Newhart, director of Boeing’s Space and Intelligence Systems.

      For in-depth coverage of this story, see the May 31 issue of Satellite News. For more information about subscribing to Access Information’s satellite newsletters, check out our Web site at

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