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Report: glitch strikes eBird satellite
Posted: Sat, Nov 8, 2003, 9:18 AM ET (1418 GMT)
eBird satellite illustration (Boeing) A new Boeing-built satellite is suffering a problem that could hamper its ability to operate as planned, Space News reported online Friday. The nature of the problem with the eBird satellite was not specified, but is said to affect all 20 of the spacecraft's Ku-band transponders. The problem is not severe enough to write off the satellite, according to the report, but would only permit the spacecraft to go into partial service. The spacecraft, a Boeing 376 owned by Eutelsat, was launched in late September on an Ariane 5 into a GEO slot at 33 degrees east. The spacecraft is designed to provide Internet links for much of Europe. A Eutelsat spokesperson told Space News only that the spacecraft would enter service in early December as planned. If the report about the spacecraft problem is correct, it would be another blow for Boeing Satellite Systems, the branch of Boeing that builds commercial spacecraft. Several of Boeing's larger 601 and 702 series of spacecraft have suffered a number of on-orbit problems, including degrading solar power systems, short-circuiting electronics, and failed ion propulsion systems.
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