The latest lost satellite is now space junk that could put other spacecraft at risk

<em>An artistic rendering of Intelsat 29e in orbit</em>

On Thursday, satellite service provider Intelsat announced that one of its communications satellites is now completely lost in orbit above Earth, rendering the vehicle an unmovable piece of space debris. Intelsat says that something damaged the satellite, causing its onboard propellant to leak out into space. Now, without the ability to maneuver and communicate, the satellite could pose a potential threat to other vehicles in the same orbit.

For Intelsat, the most obvious consequence of the loss is a financial one. Built by Boeing, the satellite, called Intelsat 29e, cost between $400 and $450 million and was supposed to operate up to 15 years in space. But now its lifetime has been cut short after just three years in orbit, preventing…

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