Intelsat Declares Boeing-Built Communications Satellite a Total Loss

LUXEMBOURG, 18 April 2019 (Intelsat PR) – Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I) announced today that the anomaly previously disclosed on April 10, 2019 has resulted in the total loss of the Intelsat 29e spacecraft. A failure review board has been convened with the satellite’s manufacturer, Boeing, to complete a comprehensive analysis of the cause of the anomaly.

Late on April 7, the Intelsat 29e propulsion system experienced damage that caused a leak of the propellant on board the satellite resulting in a service disruption to customers on the satellite. While working to recover the satellite, a second anomaly occurred, after which all efforts to recover the satellite were unsuccessful.

Since the anomaly, Intelsat has been in active contact with affected customers.  Restoration paths on other Intelsat satellites serving the region and third-party satellites have been provided for a majority of the disrupted services. Migration and service restoration are well underway; highlighting the resiliency of the Intelsat fleet and the benefit of the robust Ku-band open architecture ecosystem.

About Intelsat

Intelsat S.A. (NYSE: I) operates the world’s first Globalized Network, delivering high-quality, cost-effective video and broadband services anywhere in the world. Intelsat’s Globalized Network combines the world’s largest satellite backbone with terrestrial infrastructure, managed services and an open, interoperable architecture to enable customers to drive revenue and reach through a new generation of network services. Thousands of organizations serving billions of people worldwide rely on Intelsat to provide ubiquitous broadband connectivity, multi-format video broadcasting, secure satellite communications and seamless mobility services. The end result is an entirely new world, one that allows us to envision the impossible, connect without boundaries and transform the ways in which we live. For more information, visit www.intelsat.com.

  • duheagle

    I’m sure the first thing we’d all like to know is whether this failure is more likely to have been initiated by a debris strike or by some unknown “aneurysm” in the design of the satellite itself. Boeing cannot be expected to be eager to reveal the latter if that proves, in fact, to be the case. But, prior to this failure, it had been my impression that debris was not much of an issue at GEO altitude. Of course the failure itself has now produced a non-trivial amount of GEO and GEO-ish debris that may prove problematic for co-orbiting birds. The uniquely limited locus of GEO makes it a much more likely candidate for a sort of localized Kessler Cascade than, say, LEO.

  • Terry Stetler

    This is the second Boeing built Intelsat bird to have a problem, the first being Intelsat-33e (2016) which had a malfunction of the primary thruster delaying its entry into service.

  • duheagle

    Interesting. And one more reason to suspect design problems instead of a random debris/micro-meteoroid strike. Boeing is having a rough couple months.