A practicable universal replacement C band/Ku band communications satellite designed for orbiting the Earth in a storage orbit and a method for its use as a replacement for a failed satellite are disclosed. The universal replacement satellite can be controlled by an external control system (e.g., a ground station) and is reconfigurable by remote command (e.g., from a ground station). The satellite is designed to make several fast moves during its design life from its storage slot to the geostationary slot to which is needs to move when it is to act as a replacement for a failed satellite. The ability to make fast moves helps minimize down time. After its then-current mission of sparing a particular filed satellite has been completed, the communications payload can be turned off and the satellite can be moved back to its storage slot to await its next replacement mission. Various design features allow it to be able to satisfactorily mimic (that is, emulate) the communications capabilities of a very high percentage of the existing geostationary C band and Ku band satellites while still being economically and otherwise practicable. The satellite can also contain means for handling BSS signals so that the satellite can act as a replacement for both FSS and BSS failed satellites.