Intelsat-Americas 7 Satellite Fails

Intelsat, Ltd. reported Monday that the "Intelsat Americas-7 satellite experienced a sudden and unexpected electrical distribution anomaly that caused the permanent loss of the spacecraft" Sunday morning at approximately 2:30 AM EST. Intelsat said it had re-routed service to many of its customers using alternative capacity.

Intelsat Americas 7 (IA-7) was known as "Telstar 7" prior to Intelsat's purchase of the satellite from Loral Skynet. The satellite was launched on Sept. 25, 1999 and provided service to all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Central America and parts of South America. Intelsat is working with the manufacturer of the satellite, Space Systems/Loral, to determine the cause of the problem.

Intelsat plans to launch IA-8 on Dec. 17, 2004. This satellite will provide 36 Ku-band and 24 C-band transponders and should help mitigate the loss of IA-7. IA-8 is to be located at the 89 degrees West Longitude orbital location. IA-7 was located at 129 degrees West Longitude.

The Intelsat press release cautioned that "Under the terms of the Transaction Agreement and Plan of Amalgamation for the sale of Intelsat, dated as of August 16, 2004, among Intelsat, Ltd., Intelsat (Bermuda), Ltd., Zeus Holdings Limited, Zeus Merger One Limited and Zeus Merger Two Limited, the total loss of the IA-7 satellite would give the purchasers the right not to consummate the acquisition of Intelsat." See the release Intelsat Shareholders Approve Proposed Acquisition by Zeus Holdings.

The Telstar 7 launch announcement has more technical information on the satellite. Coverage maps are available on the Intelsat web site.