Echostar-3 retired after over 7200 days in space

After problems with communication between ground control center and Echostar-3 satellite problem was resolved and contact with spacecraft was resumed. It made possible decommissioning spacecraft and moving it to its final orbit.

Echostar remains on orbit since October 5, 1997 when it was launched on the top of the Atlas-2AS rocket from LC-36B launch site at Cape Canaveral. Satellite spent most if its mission placed on 61.5°W GEO orbital slot. After fifteen years satellite had still capability to provide communications services. It spent another years on orbit having enough fuel for orbit corrections and enough efficient solar arrays to provide communications services.

After last orbital maneuver in the end of July ground control station lost communication with Echostar-3. Specialists from Lockheed Martin, manufacturer of the Echostar-3 managed to resume it, but in the face of facts like age of satellite , shrinking fuel reserve and technical issues, it was decided to decommission satellite. It was simply too risky to utilize satellite longer, because it could be not possible to resume communication after another lost of contact and perform decommission correclty.

On September 6, 2017 Echostar and lockheed Martin announced about positive decommissioning of the Echostar-3 according to FCC regulations. According to Derek de Bastos, chief technology officer for EchoStar Satellite Services L.L.C. satellite performed all the necessary orbital maneuvers to reach 350 km graveyard orbit above GEO, all onboard instruments were turned off. Fuel reserve were depleted, battery was drained and satellite is not creating any danger for any other spacecraft.

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