Galaxy 26

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Galaxy 26
Operator Intelsat
Spacecraft Design Space Systems/Loral
Orbital location 93° West
Launched from Baikonur LC81
Launch Date 02-15-1999
Vehicle FS-1300
Design Life 12 years
C-band payload 24 x 36 MHz
Amp type SSPA, 20 watts
Amp Redundancy 16 for 12
Receiver redundancy 4 for 2
Coverage 50 State, Canada, Mexico
Beacon 3700.5 MHz (H)
Beacon 4199.5 MHz (V)

Galaxy 26 is a communications satellite owned by Intelsat. It was built by Space Systems/Loral, as part of its FS-1300 line. Galaxy 26 was formerly known as Intelsat Americas 6 and Telstar 6. It was launched aboard a Proton-K/DM3 from Baykonur LC81.[1]

It spent most of its operational life at the 93° W longitude orbital slot, serving the North American market. Clients included ABC, CBS, CNN and FOX.[2]

The Ailing Bird[edit]

Galaxy 26, known as Telstar 6 at the time, had its share of problems since its February 15, 1999 launch. It had lost a backup command and control receiver, the back up computer, and had completely shut off twice.

The satellite first shut down on April 22, 2001 causing the Fox network to relocate feeds to Telstar 5 at 97° West. Then on April 11, 2002 it shut down again and went into a very slow spin.[3]

On June 29, 2008, Galaxy 26 had a power failure in one of its solar panels. It lost 15 kilowatts out of a possible 37 kilowatt capacity, which is very important for charging the batteries.[4] Also, there were multiple transponder failures.

Several cable television networks immediately took action to move their feeds to backup satellites in order to keep themselves on air in the event of total failure. Fox News moved operations to Galaxy 16 Transponders 7, 9, and 11, and to AMC 5 Transponder 4K Slot F according to a Fox News internal email. Within a week, CBS had moved all main feeds to Galaxy 25, and all secondary feeds to Galaxy 28, according to an internal email.

In February 2009, following an urgent call from the Pentagon’s Joint staff, Intelsat moved the satellite to the 50.8E orbital position for use by the United States Department of Defense for unmanned aerial vehicle support.[5] This repositioning of the Galaxy-26, which could be reached by U.S. drone operators by using the relay station at Ramstein Air Base, facilitated the rapid expansion of the U.S. drone program.[6]

End of Mission[edit]

Galaxy 26 was officially de-orbited on June 7, 2014.[7] The satellite was originally scheduled for de-orbit around March 15, 2014, but that date was extended following delays in the launch of two replacement satellites.[8]


  1. ^ "Jonathan's Space Report". No. 389. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
  2. ^ list of channels carried on Galaxy 26
  3. ^
  4. ^ Wattlessness has Afflicted Inteletsat's G26 Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ "Intelsat Repositions Satellite to Serve Military". 24 March 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Jeremy Scahill (2015-04-17). "Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of America's Drone War". The Intercept. Retrieved 2015-04-18.
  7. ^ IntelSat Galaxy 26 News.
  8. ^ STA Request March 12, 2014

External links[edit]