Thursday, September 16, 2021

Intelsat returns JCSAT-RA satellite to Japan’s Sky Perfect JSAT

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Luxembourg and Virginia-based Intelsat declined to disclose terms of the contract with Sky Perfect JSAT, but said the satellite that provided capacity to U.S. and Asia Pacific customers is not needed following the 2018 launch of Horizons 3e to 169 degrees East. Boeing-built Horizons 3e entered service in early 2019, completing Intelsat’s Epic series of six high-throughput broadband satellites in geostationary orbit.

The C- and Ku-band satellite operates under a joint venture that was cofinanced with Sky Perfect JSAT. The satellite was launched in 2006 to cover the Americas with C- and Ku-band services from 99 degrees west.

Separately, Intelsat is seeking permission from the FCC to extend a license for operating its Galaxy 16 satellite beyond Aug. 14. Galaxy 16, Horizons 3e, JCSAT-RA and other similar GEO satellites are designed with enough fuel to operate for around 15 years. 

Lockheed-built JCSAT-RA launched in 2009 and Sky Perfect JSAT lists it as JCSat 12 on its website. Tokyo-based Sky Perfect JSAT, which declined to comment, has also requested permission from Japan’s government to relocate the satellite once it regains control.

Northrop Grumman’s MEV-2 servicer docked with Intelsat’s in-orbit 10-02 satellite in April to add five years of operational life. However, nascent satellite life extension services are changing this dynamic.

A year earlier, its MEV-1 predecessor lifted Intelsat’s defunct IS-901 satellite out of GEO graveyard orbit and back into service.

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