Today the Spanish satellite communications operator HISPASAT completed the re-orbiting operations of the Hispasat 1C satellite (subsequently called 30W-3 and 84W-1, the two orbital positions where it was located). These operations, which began on 29 May after the transmission of the final command from HISPASAT's satellite control centre in Arganda del Rey, takes place after effectively providing communication services for 17 years, two more than the initially expected lifetime.
The Hispasat 1C satellite was launched on 3 February 2000 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard the Atlas IIAS rocket, from the company ILS. Built by Thales Alenia Space, it was located at the 30° West orbital position (Hispasat 30W-3). With this satellite, in 2003 HISPASAT began marketing its broadband services in Latin America, which have been used by more than 20 of the operator’s clients in the region. Furthermore, the capacity of Hispasat 1C has been used for distance education, such as in the Uruguay’s Plan Ceibal project or the Subtel Programme in Chile, for the MEDNET project for telemedicine in Peru, to connect remote areas of Antarctica in Argentina, and to develop energy, livestock and fishing industries in different areas of the region.
The satellite, based on the Spacebus B2 platform, had 24 transponders on the Ku-band and its main services included broadcasting television channels both in Europe and in the Americas, as well as providing other telecommunications solutions, such as corporate networks and broadband applications. Throughout its lifetime, Hispasat 1C has made 22,850 transmissions, more than 1,200 manoeuvres controlled from the ground, and has borne witness to 1,544 eclipses of the Earth and 36 of the moon. In 2014, after an agreement was reached between HISPASAT and Star One, the satellite was moved to the 84° West position and was renamed Hispasat 84W-1. From this new position over Brazil, it continued to provide service to Latin America, mainly internet access and IP communications. “The satellite’s operational lifetime surpassed our contractual commitment, clearly reflecting the reliability that characterizes our Spacebus satellites fleet,” said Bertrand Maureau, Vice President, Telecommunications at Thales Alenia Space. “Thales Alenia Space formed close ties with Spanish industry to conduct the Hispasat 1C program, including companies such as CASA, GMV, Indra, Mier, RYMSA, SENER and Thales Alenia Space in Spain, proving our ability and commitment to partnering countries that contribute to generate business growth in the space sector".
Antonio Abad, Chief Technical and Operations Officer noted that "the Hispasat 1C satellite exceeded our expectations. We were able to provide guaranteed services for 17 years and it was a privilege to work with the Spanish industry in its development. Without any doubt, part of this technological success can be attributed to the Spanish industry, along with Thales Alenia Space, the satellite’s manufacturing company”.
Today marks the end of the satellite's journey from 84° West, at 36,000 km to 36,300 km, where it has been definitely placed in the so-called "graveyard orbit", as established by the recommendations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee regarding the proper maintenance of the geostationary orbit when a satellite reaches the end of its lifetime.