MEASAT Global Berhad has announced that it will be retiring its 15-year-old MEASAT-3 satellite soon. Its slated decommissioning is due to an anomaly exhibited by the orbiter, which resulted in a complete outage of service on 21 June 2021.
The outage, which is still under investigation in partnership with Boeing Satellite Systems, caused nationwide disruptions for services including Astro and rural broadband provider CONNECTme. It was also discovered that MEASAT-3 had shifted 84.69 degrees East, drifting away from the original position for the company’s fleet of satellites on the 91.5 degree East orbital hotslot. Experts noted that it is rare to see a satellite to recover from this stage of degradation.
MEASAT revealed that it will deorbit the satellite in the following weeks, where it will completely disintegrate upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. The company did not provide an exact date of its decommissioning.
To recap, MEASAT-3 is a Boeing 601 spacecraft that was launched back in December 2006 with the aim of providing satellite-based communication services. Equipped onboard the orbiter are C-band and Ku-band transponders that cover over 100 countries across Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.
Meanwhile, MEASAT is also currently finalising the launch date of the satellite’s replacement, the MEASAT-3d, which is expected to happen in early 2022. The new spacecraft is intended to restore the company’s in-orbit satellite redundancy – providing Direct-to-Home (DTH), broadcasting, and telecommunications services for the region. At the same time, it is also aimed at enhancing broadband connectivity in the country’s rural areas with speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
(Source: MEASAT press release | Images: MEASAT)