Intelsat, satellite fleet operator, has confirmed that one of the two principal reflector antennas on the recently launched New Dawn telecommunications satellite for South Africa has failed. The satellite could not deploy in orbit.
The New Dawn satellite has been placed into orbit on April 22 by European Ariane 5 ECA rocket. Since then, the satellite’s manufacturer, Orbital Sciences Corporation of Dulles, Virginia, USA, has been overseeing the transfer of the satellites from the point where it was released by the rocket to its test location. The satellite’s final operating location is 32.8 degrees east, primarily to serve African audience.
Nigeria made it first, beating South Africa in launching a satellite. New Dawn is South Africa’s first attempt to launch a satellite communications platform. It simply implies that it has to get new strategies as Nigeria is doing right now since the failure of the NigComSat – 1 satellite.
If cost and quality is the major issue, maybe, these countries could just team together and launch Africa’s satellites. It is strange that South Africa can commission a project of this magnitude without a backup.