A communications satellite from Eutelsat was launched on October 9. Unfortunately, according to a Thursday report from an operator based in Paris, the satellite has encountered a problem with a solar array. The satellite has two solar arrays in total. The satellite in question, Eutelsat 5 West B has been constructed by a company called Northrop Grumman. It has been designed for providing television broadcast services in countries like Italy, Algeria, France and other neighboring regions.
On Thursday, Eutelsat issued a statement saying that it will be looking into a so-called anomaly in the solar array on the spacecraft. A spokesperson for Eutelsat, Marie-Sophie Ecuer revealed that a problem occurred with one of two solar energy arrays of the satellite. The company further clarified that the spacecraft has complete insurance against any possible loss. This particular insurance policy covers the launch as well as the initial operating year of the satellite.
The launch of Eutelsat 5 West B took place on October 9. The site of the launch was Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome. It was set off on board of a Proton rocket from International Services of Launch. The upper Breeze M stage of the Proton was the key to delivering the spacecraft into a transfer orbit which was elliptical in shape. Further, an additional payload designed to demonstrate servicing of satellite servicing was launched alongside the satellite.
The tracking data for U.S. military indicated that Eutelsat 5 West B utilized the propulsion system on-board for circularizing its orbit greater than 36,000 kilometers or 22,000 miles over equator. As per the statement, the incident with the satellite’s solar array is suspected to have happened after it reached the geostationary orbit, when it was close to its test location on the orbit. Satellites moving in geostationary orbits travel with a velocity identical to that of the Earth’s rotation. This helps the spacecraft in remaining above same geographic positions throughout the day.