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RSCC Express-AM1Satellite Suffers On-orbit Failure

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.


Peter B. de Selding

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.