Intelsat, a multinational company that provides satellite services, reports that it has lost control of one of its satellites, which is believed to have been rendered inoperable by space weather when it was struck by a geomagnetic solar storm.
Since Friday (August 19), Intelsat has been working on regaining control of the Galaxy 15 news broadcast satellite after the solar storm apparently “knocked out onboard electronics needed to communicate with the satellite,” according to SpaceNews.com.
“The satellite is otherwise operating nominally, keeping Earth pointing with all payload operations nominal,” said Intelsat spokesperson Melissa Longo.
The company is now transferring clients of Galaxy 15 to other satellites, after which it will “continue to try to regain command once they are off so we can eventually deorbit it,” according to Intelsat.
The Galaxy 15 satellite broadcasts news to the Americas and is in a geostationary orbit with an inclination of 133 degrees west.
For more than eight months in 2010, the company was unable to communicate with the same satellite. It was forced to reboot when its batteries ran out of power and only then did it begin responding to commands from Intelsat’s control center.
Orbital Sciences Corporation built the Galaxy 15 satellite and it was launched in 2005. Eventually, Northrop Grumman acquired the entire business.
On Tuesday (August 16), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States issued a warning about an incoming category G3 geomagnetic solar storm.
The space weather event ended up being powerful enough to unleash brilliant auroras all around the globe.
Tzu-Wei Fang, a space scientist at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), warned on August 8 that the comparatively stable space weather conditions of previous years that humanity has gotten used to are “coming to an end.”
According to some scientists, the current solar cycle activity causing geomagnetic storms will rank among the strongest ever observed and would probably start destroying satellites soon, as we reported at The Mind Unleashed on August 12.
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