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Reflector Deployment Plagues Intelsat New Dawn Bird

Intelsat reported a delay in deploying the west antenna reflector on Intelsat New Dawn. Orbital Sciences Corporation, the satellite's manufacturer, told Intelsat that it executed the procedure to release the west C-band antenna reflector and that telemetry confirmed successful release of the reflector. However, other satellite data indicated that the reflector did not deploy. Deployment of the east Ku-band reflector has been delayed pending resolution of the issues with the C-band reflector.

The satellite otherwise seems to be functioning normally. Solar arrays have been successfully deployed and the bird has power, and otherwise nominal performance, according to Intelsat. The company said the Intelsat New Dawn satellite is intended to replace Intelsat's Galaxy 11 at 32.8 degrees east longitude. Galaxy 11's estimated useful life is projected through April 2015. The satellite is insured for launch and in-orbit operations. has more information on the satellite in the article by Peter B. de Selding, C-band Reflector on Intelsat New Dawn Fails to Deploy. That article reports that Intelsat spokeswoman Dianne J. VanBeber revealed in a Tuesday interview that ground teams have begun a series of maneuvers to force deployment, including shaking the satellite and exposing the stuck antenna to the sun's heat and then cold to thermally shock the mechanism. Orbital Sciences told Intelsat that the C-band reflector's ejection-release mechanism had functioned, releasing the pins that hold the antenna close to the satellite for launch purposes.

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.