Satellite retires 12 years late

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A SATELLITE which was partly made in Portsmouth has been decommissioned after spending more than 22 years in space.

The first Eurostar communications satellite, Inmarsat-2 F1, designed and built by EADS Astrium, operated for more than 22 years – far outliving its projected lifespan of 10 years.

Launched in October 1990, Inmarsat 2 F1 was the first commercial satellite in the world to rely on a digital system which could be reprogrammed in orbit.

A total of 54 Eurostar satellites have been launched to date and have proven reliable in orbit. None has been lost.

Engineers in Astrium’s Portsmouth site are responsible for designing the satellites’ payload – the brain of the satellite which allows it to perform whatever function it has been sent into space to do – whether providing mobile telecommunications, broadband, television, or defence.