RSCC Express-AM1Satellite Suffers On-orbit Failure

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PARIS — Russian Satellite Communications Co. (RSCC) announced May 17 that its Express-AM1 telecommunications satellite had failed in orbit, apparently following a shutdown of its attitude-control system.

Moscow-based RSCC said the problem first surfaced April 24. Express-AM1, built by ISS Reshetnev of Krasnoyarsk, Russia, with a payload provided by NEC Toshiba Space Systems, was launched in October 2004 and designed to operate for 10 to 12 years.

Express-AM1 was operated in geostationary orbit at 40 degrees east longitude and carries nine C-band and 18 Ku-band transponders for domestic Russian television and Internet service. It also carries one L-band transponder for mobile communications links.

RSCC did not immediately respond to questions about whether the satellite will be moved into a “graveyard” orbit several hundred kilometers above the geostationary arc, which is roughly 36,000 kilometers in altitude above the equator.