Even before it got close to the launchpad, a mishap involving a tarpaulin will delay Japan’s first military communications satellite by up to two years, it has emerged.
The DSN-1 X-band satellite, also known as Superbird-8, was supposed to launch aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from the spaceport in French Guiana. However, during its transportation from Japan in an aircraft hold on 25 May, a tarpaulin blocked valves designed to equalise internal air pressure as the plane descended in altitude.
This error damaged the satellite’s sensitive antennas supporting its high-performance Ku- and Ka-band transponders.
This satellite manufactured by Mitsubishi Electric