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Intelsat Restores Power to Galaxy 15; Recovery Efforts Underway

By | December 29, 2010

      [Satellite TODAY Insider 12-29-10] Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 is now accepting commands and sending telemetry to its satellite operations center following the operator’s loss of the satellite in April, Intelsat announced Dec. 28.
          The operator said it successfully reset the satellite’s baseband equipment command unit, noting that it was designed to do so after power from Galaxy 15’s battery was completely drained during its loss of orbit. “We have placed Galaxy 15 in safe mode, and at this time, we are pleased to report it no longer poses any threat of satellite interference to either neighboring satellites or customer services,” Intelsat said in a company statement.
          Recovery efforts for the satellite are now underway. Intelsat said it completed initial diagnostic tests and will load updated commanding software to the satellite. “We expect to relocate the satellite to an Intelsat orbital location, where engineers at our satellite operations control center will initiate extensive in-orbit testing to determine the functionality of every aspect of the spacecraft.”
          Since losing control of the Galaxy 15 satellite after a solar flare instigated an anomaly, the FSS operator faced simultaneous challenges beyond the loss of the satellite itself. The first was engaging in a cooperative effort with other operators and its own customers to determine the best way to avoid interference as Galaxy 15 drifted further from its 133 degrees West orbit. The second challenge was dealing with fast-spreading rumors that the satellite would interfere with, and possibly disrupt, major U.S. pay-TV broadcasting platforms and services provided by SES World Skies’ AMC-11.
          Earlier this year, Intelsat CTO Thierry Guillemin told Satellite TODAY Insider that the panic stirred over Galaxy 15’s potential to disrupt U.S. pay-TV services largely was “unfounded,” as the operators involved developed a strategy, led by SES CTO Alan Young, almost immediately after Intelsat lost control of the satellite.
          “We communicated our situation with everyone involved from day one,” said Guillemin. “We worked with both SES and customers and had several options to prevent any service disruption. Some of the claims that were floating on blogs and media sites outside of the satellite-specific press painted a completely inaccurate picture, considering that we have experience dealing with these situations and have been successful in the past with similar service transitions.”

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