Friday, February 08, 2008

Rascom-QAF1 Service Life Reduced

Aviation Week and Space Technology is reporting in an online article by Michael A. Taverna/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report, that the Rascom-QAF1 satellite will not operate the full 15 years service life as planned.

Thales Alenia Space says engineers have managed to place the Rascom-QAF1 satellite in final orbit, following a helium leak that occurred after its late December launch, but at the cost of a sharply reduced lifetime.

Engineers last week said four weeks of apogee motor firings, beginning with a main motor burst and followed by 18 apogee maneuvers using smaller backup thrusters, had moved the pioneering African telecom spacecraft into its intended orbit at 2.85 degrees east longitude (DAILY, Jan. 9).

However, barring further steps, satellite life will be barely more than two years, instead of the 15 years initially planned. Nevertheless, this could be enough for operator RascomStar-QAF to order a replacement satellite.