Power anomaly hits new TV satellite

Thursday, January 29 2009,

Satellite operator Eutelsat has refused delivery of a new satellite after what it described as a "major anomaly" hit the craft's power system.
The satellite was due to enter service as W2M at 16 east, covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa, after launching on December 20 last year. However, a "major anomaly affecting the satellite's power subsystem" occurred as it was maneuvered from the location used for in-orbit testing to its final position in geosynchronous orbit, and Eutelsat has refused to integrate it into its fleet. The situation is being investigated by EADS Astrium, which built the satellite based on an Indian Space Research Organisation bus.

"The situation affecting W2M is a serious disappointment for Eutelsat," the company's chairman and CEO Giuliano Berretta said. "However, for many years we have pursued a strategy based on securing and expanding our in-orbit resources in order to mitigate this type of risk. Our current investment programme consequently combines early renewal of operating satellites, together with securing the fleet through readily available back-up resources, and expansion of services with larger satellites. This policy puts us in a position to absorb the unavailability of W2M without impact on the continuity of service we provide our customers."

Eutelsat said it will deploy satellite W3B, which was ordered last February and will launch in 2010, at 16 east instead of 10 or 36 to ensure capacity is available for clients. The W2M programme was fully insured and will not impact on Eutelsat's revenue guidance.