MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s Communications and Transport Secretariat, or SCT, has postponed the launch of the Centenario satellite, the second orbiter of the state Mexsat communications system and previously scheduled for April 29, at the request of the manufacturing company, which detected a flaw in a similar system.
In a communique, the SCT said Friday that the request was made by Boeing Satellite Systems International, which had detected an operations failure in a satellite with characteristics similar to the Centenario, and which could have implications for the Mexican satellite.
“For the purpose of assuring the success of the Centenario’s mission and its perfect functioning once in orbit, the manufacturer of the satellite has asked for time to carry out additional studies until we can dismiss the possibility of any problem affecting the Centenario satellite,” the message said.
The satellite has been parked at Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome since early April “in a controlled environment, secure and monitored 24 hours a day,” it said.
The new launch date will be set in the next few days, once the manufacturer and its group of experts have finished the corresponding protocols and have made a complete evaluation of the situation.
In July 2013, the government announced the launch of Centenario for the first half of 2014, but then came a delay that Communications Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza attributed to meteorological conditions and the waiting list for satellite launches at the Cosmodrome.
The satellite will have cutting-edge technology for mobile communications among individuals, vehicles, ships and aircraft, which means it will also strengthen national security.
Built to last 15 years, Centenario is part of the Mexsat program with an investment of 23.3 billion pesos (some $1.52 billion) and which will be fully operative after the launch of the Morelos 3 satellite for mobile communications at the end of the year.
The Centenario launch process will consist of five stages, from the carrier rocket’s blastoff to its separation from the satellite, followed by the satellite beginning to function 10 months after going into orbit some 36,000 kilometers (22,400 miles) from Earth and at 113 degrees longitude westward above the equator.
The satellite has an antenna 22 by 26 meters (72 by 85 feet) and the rocket weighs more than 100 tons.
The Mexsat system will be made up of the fixed communications satellite Bicentenario, and the two centers of control and communications, Centenario and Morelos 3.