TS News - Telstar 401 Fails
TELE-satellit News, 13 January 1997
Telstar 401 Fails
BEDMINSTER, New Jersey, USA, 97/01/13 (TS) -- AT&T suffered a major
failure on its Telstar 401 satellite at 6:15am EST on Saturday morning. The
operator lost both telemetry and communications links with the satellite
causing the bird, at 97 degrees West, to shut-down with the loss of all
services. Among networks affected were ABC, Fox and PBS.
The company is apparently attempting to regain control of the satellite
but has been unsuccessfull so far. The company restored programming for
some customers on Telstar 402R, at 89 degrees West. Those moved were the
companies that had a service restoration clause in their contracts. "AT&T
and Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the satellite, are working to
determine the root cause of the problem," said AT&T in a statement.
TELE-satellit's Peter Klanowski provides this background: Apart from
TELSTAR 401 and 402R, Skynet has just two older older TELSTAR satellites in
service (302, launched 1984, 85 degrees West; and 303, launched 1985, 120
degrees West) Both are already in a slightly inclined orbit, i.e. they
aren't fully stabilised anymore.
Space Systems/Loral is building two new replacement satellites which will
have a payload of 24 Ku-band transponders with a power of 110W and 24
C-band transponders with 20W each. The first of the TELSTAR 5 satellites is
scheduled to be launched and in service in mid-1997.
Telstar 401, launched on December 12, 1993, was built by Lockheed Martin.
Its C- and Ku-band transponders cover all 50 states of the USA, Puerto Rico
and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Losing control of a geostationary satellite is by no means a rare event.
Although I don't keep an exact statistic on that, it seems that one or two
GEO satellites per year can be considered a partial or total loss. With
many more satellites being launched to a geostationary orbit, the failure
rate will probably rise over the next few years.
The latest spectacular failure happened in March 1996 when Telesat Canada
temporarily lost control of its ANIK E1 satellite. Contact could be
re-established a few days later, but up until now most of the spacecraft's
capacity cannot be used. In November 1995, Deutsche Telekom's DFS 3 (FM 1)
suffered a complete breakdown and started drifting uncontrollably. After
being recaptured, it was soon declared a total loss and conveyed to a
The following re-location chart was posted to Usenet by Anthony W. Haukap:
Old Location --> New Location
T401/03 Paramount Feeds --> Galaxy-IV(C)/10
T401/06 Buena Vista Feeds --> Galaxy-IV(C)/02
T401/08 PBS NPS Feed --> Telstar-402(KU)/08 [11.9230]
T401/09 Fox Network Feed --> Telstar-402(C)/01
T401/10 FOX Network Feed --> Telstar-402(C)/23
T401/11 ABC Network Feed --> Galaxy-III(C)/15
T401/12 ABC NewsOne Channel --> Telstar-402(C)/14
T401/13 FOX Network East Feed --> Telstar-402(C)/17
T401/14 FOX NewsEdge --> Telstar-402(C)/10
T401/15 True Blue --> Anik-E2(C)/18
T401/19 UPN East/West Feed --> Galaxy-IV(C)/22
T401/20 ABC Network Feed --> Telstar-303(C)/19
T401/21 ABC East Network Feed --> Telstar-402(C)/22
T401/22 ABC West Network Feed --> Telstar-402(C)/21
T401/23 ABC Network Feed --> Telstar-402(C)/08
T401/24 Exxxtasy --> Anik-E2(C)/22
(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.
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