2008-04-11, 10:08 AM
PARIS (Thomson Financial) - SES SA said its SES Americom unit has told its insurers that its recently launched AMC-14 is considered a loss because it's in the wrong orbit and not worth moving to the correct orbit.
2008-04-11, 05:36 PM
That's what happens when you contract out to foreigners. Trying to save a buck doesn't work. Insurance or not, that only hurts everyone else.
Actually, that's what happens when you contract out satellite service to an American firm (SES Americom). Boeing has been granted a patent on on the lunar slingshot orbit-boost technique by the US PTO (Patenting The Obvious), and used that to demand major concessions from SES Americom. Concessions so major, that SES Americom decided it was less expensive to scrap the satellite. If the satellite was owned by a totally non-American firm, the idiotic patent wouldn't apply to them, and they could've used the lunar slingshot orbital boost without additional cost. See http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Boeing_Patent_Shuts_Down_AMC_14_Lunar_Flyby_Salvage_Attempt_ 999.html for the gory details.
And as for reliability... who's supply rockets worked like clockwork and kept ISS operational when the shuttles were grounded 2 and 1/2 years after the Columbia tragedy? The first shuttle flight after Columbia (Discovery STS-114) was folowed by another 1-year shuttle grounding. So you're talking 1 shuttle flight during 3 and 1/2 years, during which time Russian rockets kept ISS from turning into another Skylab.