A mere three days after we revealed that O3b has an insurance claim for total loss on its first four satellites, it was reported by SES-sponsored publication Space News that O3b has taken two of its defunct satellites out of operations. Chirpy CEO Steve Collar of course insists this is completely normal. And despite designing a system that needs 12 satellites to be fully-operational, allowed himself to be quoted saying “the newly operational system is providing a better-than-expected service to its initial customers” which implies that he EXPECTED half of his satellites to die when they hit the thick pea soup of Van Allen belt radiatation. Plenty of others thought that would happen but it’s nice to hear O3b admitting it.
Given that the Soyuz rocket they have paid to launch the next four is also now crocked, there is nil chance of getting anything else up before 2015, we wonder if O3b will now be breaching the covenants of its COFACE loan, much like the ill-fated Newsat venture announced this week.