The Express AM-4 satellite that was carried on a Proton M vehicle that suffered an upper stage failure on 17 August 2011 that left the satellite stranded in a 20416 by 657 kilometre orbit. The satellite was classed as a total insurance loss and was due to be de-orbited by the end of March 2012.
However it is claimed by Polar Broadband Systems who thought up the plan, that there could be a chance to use the satellite by placing it into a highly elliptical orbit with its apogee over the southern hemisphere and it could then have a ten year life using its 63 transponders to provide communications services over the Antarctic to support the scientific communities of the many countries that have research facilities on that continent. By boosting the satellite into a 25,000 kilometre by 46,000 kilometre orbit and leave the inclination at 51 degrees would place the satellite into a 24 hour highly elliptical orbit that would provide up to 14 hours of service to the Antarctic every day. Polar Broadband Systems say that plan has been technically vetted and has little associated risk and that the scientific community is enthusiastic about the project as it would provide them with a much needed resource.
While this has been proposed by Polar Broadband Systems to the Russian Satellite Communications Company, who currently control the satellite no decision has been made that will allow the manoeuvres to begin to take the satellite to the desired orbit. Time is running out for the satellite which under current plans is due to be de-orbited in the near future.