Larry Trotter
A Sea Launch AG rocket launches the Intelsat 19 satellite.
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updated 6/7/2012 12:27:26 PM ET 2012-06-07T16:27:26

The Intelsat IS-19 satellite launched May 31 has failed to deploy one of its two solar arrays, Intelsat announced late June 1 – an anomaly that has affected other Space Systems/Loral (SS/L)-built satellites and is likely to have ripple effects on two others preparing for launch in the coming weeks.

Luxembourg- and Washington-based Intelsat, in its statement, said only that there was a "delay" in the deployment of one of the arrays.

"Intelsat and Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), the manufacturer of the satellite, are investigating the cause and are pursuing corrective actions. The spacecraft is secure at this time in geostationary transfer orbit," the statement said.

IS-19 is scheduled to replace Intelsat’s IS-8 at 166 degrees east, where in addition to taking on IS-8 customers it will play a key role in Intelsat's planned global network providing broadband communications to aeronautical and maritime customers.

IS-8 has sufficient fuel to continue operating until late 2019, Intelsat said.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based SS/L had made no statement on the IS-19 anomaly as of early June 2.

The manufacturer is in the middle of one of the busiest satellite-delivery periods in its history. The SS/L-built Nimiq 6 satellite was launched May 18 and is in good health, according to its owner, Telesat of Canada. [Photos: Spotting Satellites & Spaceships from Earth]

EchoStar 17, formerly named Jupiter, a Ka-band consumer broadband satellite owned by Hughes Network Systems of Germantown, Md., has arrived at Europe’s Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, on the northeast coast of South America, in preparation for a launch in late June or early July aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket.

That launch, which will also carry Europe’s MSG-3 meteorological satellite, had been scheduled for mid-June. But in mid-May the decision was made to scrap that date to permit SS/L to perform additional verifications on the spacecraft. SS/L did not say whether the additional verifications had to do with the satellite’s solar array deployment mechanism.

Also awaiting launch is the SES-5 telecommunications satellite owned by SES of Luxembourg. SES-5 arrived at Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on May 21 in preparation for a June launch aboard an International Launch Services Proton rocket.

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The SS/L-built Estrela do Sul-2 satellite launched in May 2011 was unable to deploy one of its solar arrays when a small nylon clip that holds the solar-array cabling in place came loose. The freed cabling snagged on a metal clip that holds the array to the satellite’s body in stowed position for launch, preventing deployment of the array.

The cabling subsequently snapped under the stress and in so doing broke a piece of the solar array.

Estrela do Sul-2’s owner, Telesat, subsequently received a $132.7 million insurance claim, saying the satellite would be limited to 60 percent of its expected broadcast capacity because of the solar-array problem, and that its service life would be cut to 12 years from 15 years.

This article was provided by Space News, dedicated to covering all aspects of the space industry.

© 2013 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.

Photos: Month in Space: January 2014

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  1. Southern stargazing

    Stars, galaxies and nebulas dot the skies over the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile, in a picture released on Jan. 7. This image also shows three of the four movable units that feed light into the Very Large Telescope Interferometer, the world's most advanced optical instrument. Combining to form one larger telescope, they are greater than the sum of their parts: They reveal details that would otherwise be visible only through a telescope as large as the distance between them. (Y. Beletsky / ESO) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. A balloon's view

    Cameras captured the Grandville High School RoboDawgs' balloon floating through Earth's upper atmosphere during its ascent on Dec. 28, 2013. The Grandville RoboDawgs’ first winter balloon launch reached an estimated altitude of 130,000 feet, or about 25 miles, according to coaches Mike Evele and Doug Hepfer. It skyrocketed past the team’s previous 100,000-feet record set in June. The RoboDawgs started with just one robotics team in 1998, but they've grown to support more than 30 teams at public schools in Grandville, Mich. (Kyle Moroney / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Spacemen at work

    Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov, right, and Sergey Ryazanskiy perform maintenance on the International Space Station on Jan. 27. During the six-hour, eight-minute spacewalk, Kotov and Ryazanskiy completed the installation of a pair of high-fidelity cameras that experienced connectivity issues during a Dec. 27 spacewalk. The cosmonauts also retrieved scientific gear outside the station's Russian segment. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Special delivery

    The International Space Station's Canadian-built robotic arm moves toward Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Cygnus autonomous cargo craft as it approaches the station for a Jan. 12 delivery. The mountains below are the southwestern Alps. (NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Accidental art

    A piece of art? A time-lapse photo? A flickering light show? At first glance, this image looks nothing like the images we're used to seeing from the Hubble Space Telescope. But it's a genuine Hubble frame that was released on Jan. 27. Hubble's team suspects that the telescope's Fine Guidance System locked onto a bad guide star, potentially a double star or binary. This caused an error in the tracking system, resulting in a remarkable picture of brightly colored stellar streaks. The prominent red streaks are from stars in the globular cluster NGC 288. (NASA / ESA) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Supersonic test flight

    A camera looking back over Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo's fuselage shows the rocket burn with a Mojave Desert vista in the background during a test flight of the rocket plane on Jan. 10. Cameras were mounted on the exterior of SpaceShipTwo as well as its carrier airplane, WhiteKnightTwo, to monitor the rocket engine's performance. The test was aimed at setting the stage for honest-to-goodness flights into outer space later this year, and eventual commercial space tours.

    More about SpaceShipTwo on PhotoBlog (Virgin Galactic) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Red lagoon

    The VLT Survey Telescope at the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory in Chile captured this richly detailed new image of the Lagoon Nebula, released on Jan. 22. This giant cloud of gas and dust is creating intensely bright young stars, and is home to young stellar clusters. This image is a tiny part of just one of 11 public surveys of the sky now in progress using ESO telescopes. (ESO/VPHAS team) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Fire on the mountain

    This image provided by NASA shows a satellite view of smoke from the Colby Fire, taken by the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer aboard NASA's Terra spacecraft as it passed over Southern California on Jan. 16. The fire burned more than 1,863 acres and forced the evacuation of 3,700 people. (NASA via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Where stars are born

    An image captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the Orion Nebula, an immense stellar nursery some 1,500 light-years away. This false-color infrared view, released on Jan. 15, spans about 40 light-years across the region. The brightest portion of the nebula is centered on Orion's young, massive, hot stars, known as the Trapezium Cluster. But Spitzer also can detect stars still in the process of formation, seen here in red hues. (NASA / JPL-Caltech) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Cygnus takes flight

    Orbital Sciences Corp.'s Antares rocket rises from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va, on Jan. 9. The rocket sent Orbital's Cygnus cargo capsule on its first official resupply mission to the International Space Station. (Chris Perry / NASA) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A long, long time ago...

    This long-exposure picture from the Hubble Space Telescope, released Jan. 8, is the deepest image ever made of any cluster of galaxies. The cluster known as Abell 2744 appears in the foreground. It contains several hundred galaxies as they looked 3.5 billion years ago. Abell 2744 acts as a gravitational lens to warp space, brightening and magnifying images of nearly 3,000 distant background galaxies. The more distant galaxies appear as they did more than 12 billion years ago, not long after the Big Bang. (NASA / NASA via AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Frosty halo

    Sun dogs are bright spots that appear in the sky around the sun when light is refracted through ice crystals in the atmosphere. These sun dogs appeared on Jan. 5 amid brutally cold temperatures along Highway 83, north of Bismarck, N.D. The temperature was about 22 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, with a 50-below-zero wind chill.

    Slideshow: The Year in Space (Brian Peterson / The Bismarck Tribune via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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