Amazonas experienced a pressure drop in one of its two oxidiser tanks owing to a micro-leak that is thought to have been caused by a defective pyrovalve provided by U.S. company Conax.
The company meanwhile no longer supplies pyrovalves to Astrium, who has asked an an international arbitration panel for €24.5 million in damages from Conax.
Spanish satellite operator Hispasat said that the pressure drop was detected by Astrium during in-orbit testing, which started on 16 August 2004 after the satellite arrived at 61 degrees East.
Amazonas, based on EADS Astrium's Eurostar 3000 platform, had an original mission life time of 15 years. Immediately after the detection of the failure its effective lifetime was estimated to be still more than 10 years. This estimate has in the meantime been reduced to no more than five years.
Space News reported in May 2008 that "insurance underwriters already have paid a partial settlement to Hispasat but are withholding any remaining payment until they are more certain of how much operating life Amazonas has left."