The board of SES Global has approved funding for the direct replacement of NSS-8, which was lost as a result of the January 30 failure of the Sea Launch rocket, potentially caused by a loose bolt in the LOX tank.
Technical specifications for the new satellite have already been completed and New Skies intends to issue a procurement contract in the next week. It is anticipated the satellite will be delivered in orbit by mid-2009. It will then take up the 57 degrees East orbit slot intended for the original NSS-8.
Although the design of the new satellite is ostensibly the same as the craft it is replacing, some of the beams have been enhanced, and while there remains flexibility available SES New Skies president and CEO Robert Bednarek has invited customers to offer their suggestions on potential configurations.
New Skies is investigating short-term replacements for NSS-8, though Bednarek admits that this is not easy, given the unique nature of the satellite. The company has also begun the planning for an additional hybrid satellite, which is due to be placed with a manufacturer by the summer.