Insurance: Taking a Bath in Space

Taking a Bath in Space

"This is the greatest disaster in the history of commercial space technology." So last week said a stunned James Barrett, president of Washington-based International Technology Underwriters, a major insurer of space satellites. Barrett's remark was prompted by the unprecedented loss of three new communications satellites in a week. Estimated value of the three, insured by INTEC and other companies: $250 million.

The first casualty was a Hughes Aircraft-built LEASAT 4 satellite, which began to malfunction, apparently because of a faulty transmission cable, about one week after it popped perfectly out of the cargo bay of the space shuttle Discovery on Aug....

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