Speculation that Intelsat 19 solar array jam was caused by Sea Launch interaction

by | Jun 8, 2012 | Seradata News | 0 comments

Despite concerns over the jammed solar array of the spacecraft Intelsat 19 which uses the same Space Systems/Loral-built LS-1300 bus design as its SES 5 satellite, SES has decided to go ahead with the SES 5 launch on a Proton.  This has only been delayed slightly to 20 June given that extensive solar array checks had already been made. 

As it is, there is now speculation that it may be a launcher interaction that was the cause of Intelsat 19’s array deployment problem rather than with the satellite design itself.   Like Intelsat 19, Telstar 14 (Estrela Do Sul) also flew on a Sea Launch Zenit 3-S launch (in 2004) and it was suspected explosive damage during this launch which was cited as causing its jammed solar array.  Sea Launch has always contested that the explosion was their fault.

Of course, the later Telstar 14R (Estrela Do Sul 2) and SES 4 which both also had “sticky solar array” deployment issues (the former permanently) were both flown on Proton launches.  As such, the LS-1300 bus design may yet be found to have an inherent susceptibility to solar array deployment jams anyway.  Mind you, in truth, the cabling snag that caused the deployment failure on Telstar 14R (Estrela Do Sul 2) was more about bad luck than anything else. 

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