Originally launched as AsiaSat
3, HGS-1 was the first commercial space
craft that did a moon shot
- actually it did two.
On December 25, 1997 the proton rocket carrying the satellite failed during its fourth stage burn and left the satellite in a very odd orbit that was highly inclined and very elliptical (making the satellite that was supposed to be in a geosynchronous orbit unusable).
However, the equivalent of mission control for Hughes Space didn't give
up on the satellite. Instead they ran simulations and discovered that
by sending the satellite around the moon to give it an assist it would be possible to reposition it into a proper geosynchronous orbit. In doing so, Hughes agreed to share any profits with the insurance company.
Thus, the first lunar mission involving a communications satellite and
the first lunar mission from a non-government entity was undertaken.
After a series of burns at perigee in its odd orbit it was injected into a trans-lunar orbit on May 7th and flew by the moon on May 13th.
It turns out that the engineers realized that one more slingshot around the moon would further improve the orbit and the satellite flew by the moon again on June 6th.
At 11:29 am PDT on June 17, 1998 HGS-1 was parked in over the Pacific Ocean.
As it stands now, HGS-1 is located in a geosynchronous orbit at 60 degrees west which provides coverage for North and Central America, the northern part of South America, the Caribbean and the western portion of Africa.
- April 28 - apogee at 214,000 km
- May 4 - apogee at 321,000 km
- May 7 - trans lunar injection
- (5 3/4 day trip to the moon)
- May 13 - Perilune (6,200 km from moon)
- (3 1/4 day trip to earth)
- (at this point it was intended to reach earth perigee at 42,000 km on May 16 and then slowly move to a geosynchronous orbit in late may, instead the second moon shot was made)
- May 16 - phasing orbit (15 day) with apogee of 488,000 km (the moon is 402,000 km distant)
- June 1 - Second trans-lunar injection
- June 6 - Second lunar encounter (34,300 km from moon)
- June 14 - Earth capture into a 46 hour orbit (36,000 km to 82,000 km)
- June 16 - Circular 28 hour orbit
- June 17 - Geosynchronous orbit