Advanced Television

Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 now drifting

September 2, 2022

Intelsat lost full control of its Galaxy 15 satellite on August 10th when it experienced an “anomaly”. Intelsat speedily transferred its clients to other satellites but it is now clear that the satellite is drifting and has been since at least August 15th.

The theory is that Galaxy 15 was hit by an intense geomagnetic storm which scrambled on-board electronics. It has been in orbit for almost 17 years.

Galaxy 15’s normal ‘home position’ is 133 degrees West and Intelsat now says the rogue satellite is transiting through other orbital locations licensed to other satellites.

Intelsat, and the satellite operators in the path of the zombie craft, are used to mitigating any risk of collision or signal interference.

Intelsat says the payload, and its client’s transmissions, are now “muted” and thus will not corrupt signals from other craft in its journey. Intelsat has confirmed that all the Galaxy 15 transmissions have been shifted to Galaxy 23.

The good news is that Intelsat is due to see its Galaxy 33 craft, which was destined to be a replacement for Galaxy 15, is still on track to be launch by SpaceX on or about October 8th. Intelsat expects to see Galaxy 33 enter service this coming November when signals will be relocated from Galaxy 23 to the new satellite.

Galaxy 15, originally a PanAmSat craft, was launched in October 2005 and had earlier gone ‘rogue’ back in April 2010 but the satellite was recovered in December 2010 following on from a ‘re-boot’ of the craft. By April 2011 the satellite was back in its correct position and working normally.

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