Research into the causes of AMOS-5 satellite failure
On November 21, 2015 communications signals from and contact with AMOS-5 – the telecommunications satellite designed and built by Academician M.F. Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems for an Israeli satellite operator Spacecom, were lost.
On the day when the satellite ceased functioning ISS-Reshetnev Company set up a commission to search for possible causes of the satellite’s failure which was headed by Yuriy Maximov, deputy general director for quality at ISS-Reshetnev. AMOS ground control experts with due support from ISS-Reshetnev engineers were working around the clock, doing the utmost to restore its service and reconnect with the satellite. However, for now AMOS-5 is still not responding to commands.
According to the telemetry data that AMOS-5 had been sending until the moment it failed, there were no signs of troubles; all its systems were running nominally. It is confirmed that all the commands that the AMOS ground control complex was sending to the satellite were adequate and nominal.
As seen from the ground, the satellite remains at its assigned orbital position, in a not stabilized state.
Based on the current analysis, the AMOS-5 satellite has completely lost power and its further operation is not possible.
As for now, the most likely cause of the satellite’s failure is the total failure of its onboard electric supply system or the 100V cable network bus, or it is also possible that the satellite failed due to the external exposure of a critical element of the power supply system or the onboard 100V cable network bus to high-energy cosmic ray particles. Among other possible causes are the problems in the satellite’s tracking, telemetry and command system or its payload.
At the moment the commission keeps investigating the root causes of the malfunction, including data analysis received from Thales Alenia Space, a subcontractor for the AMOS-5 satellite’s payload and tracking, telemetry and command system. ISS‑Reshetnev Company is to submit a report to Spacecom until December 28, 2015.