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Intelsat Expects Insurance to Cover Loss of C-band on New Dawn Satellite

As previously covered in RF Report, although the Ku-band reflector on the New Dawn satellite was eventually deployed, Intelsat, the majority owner, and Orbital Sciences Corporation, the satellite's manufacturer, have been unable to deploy the C-band reflector. Intelsat addressed the situation when reporting its second quarter results.

Intelsat stated, "The west antenna reflector, which controls communications in the C-band frequency, has yet to deploy. Intelsat and Orbital Sciences Corporation, the satellite manufacturer, completed an investigation and concluded that the deployment anomaly of the C-band reflector was most likely due to a malfunction of the reflector sunshield. As a result, the sunshield interfered with the ejection release mechanism and thus prevented the deployment of the C-band antenna."

The New Dawn joint venture indicated to insurers that it is reasonably likely to file a partial loss claim if it is unable to deploy the west antenna reflector. All or most of the proceeds would be used to pay down the New Dawn joint venture's debt in accordance with existing debt agreements. New Dawn is attempting to find other capacity for its C-band customers. If it is unable to do so and the failure continues, these customers may terminate their service contracts. In the second quarter earnings release, Intelsat said, "Therefore, it is likely that we would lose a substantial portion of the related revenue backlog of $310.2 million."

Intelsat reported stronger business for existing satellites and on Intelsat 18, planned to launch before the end of this year. Peter B. de Selding has a detailed report on the problems with the New Dawn satellite in recent article, Investigators Cite Design Defect in Intelsat New Dawn Antenna Failure on

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.