Mystery satellite failures confirmed: communications lost with former SPOT 7 imaging satellite Azersky while Inmarsat 4F-1 has temporary outage

by | Apr 25, 2023 | Reliability Info, Satellites, Seradata News

It was reported to Seradata during April that Azersky – the former SPOT 7 Earth-imaging satellite – had failed in orbit in March. Initially Azercosmos – the Azerbaijan space agency – refused to comment on the failure. However, later AzerNews confirmed the report, quoting the Azerbaijan Ministry of Digital Development and Transport (MDDT) which said communications with the spacecraft had ended suddenly.

Under the agreement signed by Azercosmos with Airbus Defence and Space (Airbus DS) when the satellite was purchased in December 2014, about six months after its launch satellite images using the SPOT 6 satellite, which operated in the same orbit as SPOT 7, would be made available to Azercosmos. A collision with small pieces of space debris or meteorite is considered a possible reason for the termination of data exchange with the satellite, possibly causing a failure of the satellite’s power supply. However, no rotational movement or debris from a strike has been observed

The Azersky satellite is insured in the amount of AZN45m (US$26.5m) and a claim for total loss has been made. Seradata is also aware that Airbus DS may also have its own insurance policy, with the combined value reaching US$40 million.

Update on 28 April 2023: In a strange coincidence, Azercosmos has just concluded a US$120 million deal Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to purchase two high-resolution optical satellites.

Artist’s impression of Azersky satellite. Courtesy: Azercosmos

In a separate failure, albeit of a more temporary nature, the satellite operator Inmarsat reported that its Inmarsat 4F-1 spacecraft (launched in 2005) had experienced an outage, at 2114 GMT on 16 April. The satellite was recovered by 19 April but a power loss persists. Inmarsat-C services, which are offered over East Asia and the Pacific, were originally transferred to a contingency satellite but these are now being transferred back to I-4 F1. However, Global Satellite Phone Service (GSPS) L-band services have yet to be recovered. It is not thought that this satellite is insured.





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