Stricken with fuel leak, Intelsat 29e seen drifting in geostationary orbit
By Stephen Clarke
Full StoryA Boeing-built Intelsat communications satellite launched three years ago is drifting in geostationary orbit after suffering a fuel leak and releasing debris fragments last week, according to an analysis by space surveillance experts.
Ground-based telescopes operated by ExoAnalytic Solutions, a commercial company that tracks objects in space with a network of optical telescopes, show the Intelsat 29e communications satellite is tumbling, leaking propellant and drifting through the geostationary arc, where numerous communications satellites are stationed more than 22,000 miles (nearly 36,000 kilometers) over the equator.
The telescopic imagery also appears to show several pieces of debris came off the satellite last week, according to Bill Therien, executive vice president of engineering at ExoAnalytic Solutions.