It has been reported that customers on the Thaicom 5 communications satellite have been moved to other satellites following a telemetry issue that is preventing control of the spacecraft. The nearly 14-year-old spacecraft was coming to the end of its design life. Details of the fault remain sketchy, but Seradata understands that it occurred in late December and involves a related battery issue. A claim for total insurance loss is likely to be made. 

Thaicom 5 was built by Thales Alenia Space, using its Spacebus 3000A platform, and was launched in 2006. While the Thaicom 5 insurance claim will not be large – its insured value at the time of loss was only circa US$26 million, the likely claim adds to the woes of space insurers. They already had a total surpassing US$800 million in claims for last year against premium income of circa US$500 million.

Artist’s impression of Thaicom 5 in orbit. Courtesy: Thales Alenia Space