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March 28, 1988

THE COST OF SATELLITE LAUNCHES IS SOARING

By CBR Staff Writer

With the queue for berths on launch vehicles lengthening, the cost of satellite launches soaring – insurance is now 20% of the total cost against just 5% before launch failures started mounting, what is known as the Comsat Manoeuvre is attracting keen interest from operators: according to the Washington Post, typical life of a communications satellite is 10 years – and a key reason for the bird becoming unusable is that it runs out of fuel for the small positioning manoevres that are needed to keep it precisely on station – but Communications Satellite Corp reckons that a new technique of using fuel much more sparingly and instead re-directing the earthstation to keep a languidly straying bird in its sights can extend the life of the satellite by three to five years.

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