TAMPA, Fla. – Insurance for a Malaysian satellite that ran out of oil prematurely remains unsustainable more than a year later.
Some broadcasters are disputing Malaysian satellite operator Measat’s demand for $45 million to cover losses from Measat-3, an insurance source said, while others have accepted the payment.
While most space insurance claims are resolved within months – after a rocket explodes directly, for example – it can take years following an in-orbit incident where the cause of the failure is unclear.
“We were like, Hey, is this legit…how do you run out of gas?”
But although the author said that Measat and Boeing, the manufacturers of Measat-3, were able to analyze the data that shows a valid insurance policy, some authors remain unsatisfied.
“The fuel left in the tank is gone” in the latest health report submitted to insurers to decide whether to renew the Measat-3 system, according to one author.
“Right now, we don’t think there should be anything to say,” the person said, because the information the underwriters received before agreeing to extend the insurance at the end of 2020 for another year “is wrong.”
Since each insurer has its own share of satellite insurance, those who agree to a claim pay their share while their competitors dispute it.
Measat-3 was decommissioned in 2022 after it ran out of fuel earlier than expected.
Although Measat-3 did not have enough fuel to continue providing broadcast and telecom services, enough was left to push it out of geostationary orbit (GEO) a few weeks after Measat. they stopped trying to revive the satellite.
It is not clear what caused the difference in fuel expected from Measat-3.
Launched in December 2006, Measat-3 was nearing the end of its 15-year lifespan at the time. However, GEO satellites always have enough fuel to go beyond this initial estimate.
Last year, a writer said SpaceNews that Measat expects to get another two years of satellite service.
The $45 million settlement for the incident “is largely undetermined,” an insurance source said Aug. 1, adding that it is unlikely to be resolved soon.
Measat spokeswoman Shawna Felicia said the company “cannot comment on insurance” for Measat-3.
Joshua Barrett, a spokesman for Boeing Boeing Defense, Space and Security, said Measat-3 was retired “following the rapid depletion of propellants that were unique to this satellite for more than a decade.”
Barrett said the satellite, which was based on the design of the Boeing 601HP, was placed “on a safe, life-saving trajectory.”
Boeing declined to comment further.
Measat-3 made it less than halfway to the grave 300 kilometers above the geostationary belt during a flyby last September, according to space research firm ExoAnalytic Solutions.
However, ExoAnalytic Solutions CEO Doug Hendrix said the satellite’s distance of 138 kilometers above the geostationary belt “makes it less vulnerable.”
Measat did not mention Measat-3 in a July 22 news release announcing that Measat-3d, its successor, had entered service after successful orbit tests.
Measat-3d was developed for Measat by Airbus Defense and Space under a 2019 contract as a replacement for Measat-3 and Measat-3a, a satellite developed by Orbital Sciences that was launched in 2009.
Measat-3a is “working nominally,” Felicia said SpaceNews in the August 1 email.
Arianespace launched Measat-3d June 22 on an Ariane 5 rocket to replace and expand the coverage of Measat in the Asia Pacific at 91.5 degrees East, where Measat-3a and Measat-3b are also located.
Measat-3d carries C-band and Ku-band transponders for satellite TV in Asia Pacific, as well as Ka-band high-speed broadband in Malaysia.
The satellite also has Q-band and V-band payloads for studying radio transmission in areas with high rainfall such as Malaysia, which Measat says will inform the design of its future satellites.