Express AM4 Destroyed as Effort To Save Russian Satellite Shunned [Spaceflight Now]
The Russian Express AM4 communications satellite, placed into a bad orbit after a rocket failure during its August launch, was intentionally crashed into the Pacific Ocean March 25 despite an attempt to save the craft to serve Antarctic scientists, Spaceflight Now reports.
Polar Broadband Systems Ltd. wanted to purchase the satellite and raise its orbit so that it could provide broadband coverage to researchers in the South Pole region, said company co-founder Bill Readdy, a former space shuttle commander and NASA manager. But the company’s phone calls to the Russian space agency and Express AM4’s insurance underwriter in recent days were not answered, Readdy said.
Moving the satellite into an orbit high over Antarctic research sites would have provided broadband coverage of the South Pole region for more than 14 hours per day, Readdy said.