Amazonas 1 ends its useful life and is sent to the graveyard orbit

June 23, 2017

Today, the fifth satellite of the HISPASAT fleet completed its re-orbiting process, which began on 19 June 2017.

This satellite effectively provided services from the 61° and 55° West orbital positions.

MADRID, 23 June 2017. Today, the Spanish satellite communications operator HISPASAT completed the re-orbiting process of the Amazonas 1 satellite. This process, which began on 19 June 2017, ended today after the transmission of the last command from the HISPASAT Satellite Control Centre in Arganda del Rey, through which the passivation of the satellite was completed after having efficiently provided communications services throughout its useful life, despite experiencing fuel leakage in a nitrogen tetroxide tank shortly after its launch.

The Amazonas 1 satellite was launched on 5 August 2004 at Baikonur, aboard the ILS Proton M-Breeze M rocket. Built by EADS Astrium, currently Airbus, it was the first satellite located at the Brazilian 61º West orbital position. In 2014, thanks to an agreement with Intelsat, the satellite was relocated to the 55.5º West position. Throughout its lifetime, Amazonas 1 has made more than 25,000 transmissions from 19 different countries, 613 manoeuvres in orbit, and has borne witness to 1,170 eclipses of the Earth and 29 of the moon.

Amazonas 1 was the cornerstone of the company's the geographic expansion into Latin American markets. This satellite, with transatlantic and Pan-American capacities, has provided coverage for the entire American continent, Europe and North Africa. Based on the Eurostar 3000 platform, its main services included the distribution of television channels both in Europe and America, as well as providing other telecommunications solutions such as corporate networks or broadband applications, among others.

Antonio Abad, Technical and Operations Director at HISPASAT, emphasised that the "Amazonas 1 satellite was very special for Hispasat because it was the company’s first step towards internationalisation. The satellite initially experienced a fuel leak that called into question its future operation. In spite of this setback, Amazonas 1 was able to fulfil most of its useful life, which was unimaginable after a failure of this kind. This shows that it was a robust and reliable satellite, in line with the quality we always associate with Airbus, in collaboration with the Spanish industry, which also participated in its development".

Meanwhile, Arnaud de Rosnay, SVP Satellite Telecommunications at Airbus, stated: "We are proud to be industrial partners of HISPASAT since its inception, and we thank them for their confidence, which has allowed us to contribute to their numerous achievements. Amazonas 1 begins a well deserved retirement and its replacement is ready, specifically, thanks to Amazonas 2, also built by Airbus, offering increased capacity at one of the main orbital positions of our distinguished client HISPASAT”.

Today, Amazonas 1 finished covering the 300 km that separate its former position at 36,000 km from the Earth to the so-called "graveyard orbit", where it has definitely been located, as established by the recommendations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee for the proper maintenance of the geostationary orbit when a satellite ends of its useful life.


Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of € 67 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.


HISPASAT is comprised of companies that have a presence in Spain as well as in Latin America, where its Brazilian affiliate HISPAMAR is based. HISPASAT is a world leader in the distribution and broadcasting of Spanish and Portuguese content, and its satellite fleet is used by important direct-to-home television (DTH) and high-definition television (HDTV) digital platforms. HISPASAT also provides satellite broadband services and other added value solutions to governments, corporations and telecommunication operators in America, Europe and North Africa. HISPASAT is one of the world's largest companies in its sector in terms of revenue, and the main communications bridge between Europe and the Americas.

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