Transferred Europe to digital television satellite “retired”

The geostationary satellite Eutelsat 5 West A was successfully transferred to the burial orbit. This is stated in a message published by Eutelsat.

MCC of Eutelsat company. Source: Adrien Daste / Eutelsat (2021)

The “retired” satellite was built by Alcatel Alenia Space (now Thales Alenia Space). It was launched in July 2002. The working position of the device was located at 5 ° W. It played an important role in Europe’s transition from analog to digital television in the noughties, especially in France.

In 2019, a new Eutelsat 5 West B spacecraft was launched to replace the veteran satellite. But one of its solar panels failed, which led to the loss of half the power. As a result, the company had to extend the service life of Eutelsat 5 West A. The device was transferred to a more fuel-efficient orbit. Over time, the specialists still transferred all the main functions of Eutelsat 5 West A to its replacement, as well as to other satellites of the company. At the end of its mission, the satellite was mainly used for maritime communications.

After the decision was made to discontinue the operation of Eutelsat 5 West A, it was transferred to the burial orbit, which lay 400 km above the positions of geostationary satellites. After that, the device was passivated. Its fuel system was depressurized, and all electronic equipment was turned off. This was done in order to eliminate the possibility of an explosion of fuel vapors or batteries, which could lead to the formation of space debris.

Earlier we talked about how Eutelsat and OneWeb were teaming up to confront SpaceX and Amazon.

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