Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Zombie Satellite Causes Astronomical Buzz

Don't be alarmed. High above your heads, a zombie satellite is on the loose. OK, actually, it won't really be a bother to us earthlings. Or at least to most of us. (More on that later.) But the rogue communications satellite is wreaking havoc in Earth's orbit and does threaten to interfere with signals coming from other satellites. Here's the backstory...

The communications satellite named Galaxy 15 lost contact with ground control after a solar flare probably fried its brain. As a story from the Christian Science Monitor reports, attempts from Earth to contact the satellite have been unsuccessful. But instead of just dying and drifting off, the satellite has continued to orbit the Earth, even though it refuses to receive instructions from its owner, Intelsat.

For the science nerds out there: The satellite is still on, with its "C-band telecommunications payload still functioning even as it has left its assigned orbital slot of 133 degrees west longitude 36,000 kilometers over the equator." Translation: Not good.

Read the entire article:

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