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Communications Earth Transportation

Geostationary GPS Satellite Galaxy 15 Out of Control 379

Bruce Perens writes "The Galaxy 15 commercial satellite has not responded to commands since solar flares fried its CPU in April, and it won't turn off. Intelsat controllers moved all commercial payloads to other birds except for WAAS, a system that adds accuracy to GPS for landing aircraft and finding wayward geocaches. Since the satellite runs in 'bent pipe' mode, amplifying wide bands of RF that are beamed up to it, it is likely to interfere with other satellites as it crosses their orbital slots on its way to an earth-sun Lagrange point, the natural final destination of a geostationary satellite without maneuvering power." (More below.)
Bruce continues: "The only payload that is still deliberately active on the satellite is its WAAS repeater. An attempt to overload the satellite and shut it down on May 3 caused a Notice to Airmen regarding the unavailability of WAAS for an hour. Unsaid is what will happen to WAAS, and for how long, when the satellite eventually loses its sun-pointing capability, expected later this year, and stops repeating the GPS correction signal. Other satellites can be moved into Galaxy 15's orbital slot, but it is yet unannounced whether the candidates bear the WAAS payload."
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Geostationary GPS Satellite Galaxy 15 Out of Control

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  • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @07:58PM (#32150342)

    I am thinking that the X-37b with the ABL (big laser) would work wonders for just this sort of thing.

    though one would want to take really really careful aim. If you hit a large spinning mirror you could fry someone else.

  • Double Bastard (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SendBot ( 29932 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @08:01PM (#32150360) Homepage Journal

    And create all that space debris that will jeopardize countless other satellites?

  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @08:02PM (#32150372)

    ... because a big debris cloud in orbit is a whole lot safer than one satellite in a known orbit.

  • by Howitzer86 ( 964585 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @08:10PM (#32150440)
    I thought it would just fry the electronics with intense heat. Just how much debris would that create? Can't be much.
  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @08:12PM (#32150444) Homepage
    And nothing of value was lost.
  • by Entropius ( 188861 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @08:18PM (#32150474)

    ... and nothing of value would be lost.

    (Besides, losing a few cable channels for a little while isn't much compared to actually losing satellites from debris hits. People can do without Fox News for a few days.)

  • by thms ( 1339227 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @08:40PM (#32150604)

    Too high.

    The recent anti-sat missiles which China [] and the USA [] tested just took out satellites which were in low earth orbit, 400km max. This satellite is in a geosynchronous orbit, which is about 36,000 km high (and for reference, the moon is 380,000 km away, so a moon-earth Lagrange point would make a little more sense).

    And these anti-sat missiles don't even have to reach a 400 km orbit, an epileptic orbit which would intersect with earth again (but happens to intersect with another satellite first) is sufficient, that is why they could be launched from a warship. Not that taking down a geostationary sat would be impossible - since they don't zip overhead with 25,000 km/h it could actually be easier, but these weapons are not build for it and would need another booster base.

  • by Macrat ( 638047 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @08:58PM (#32150706)

    People can do without Fox News for a few days.

    People will have to get their unfounded BS the old fashioned way.

  • Re:Bastard (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 09, 2010 @09:08PM (#32150758)

    But if it's boosting everything RF, can't we use it to, like, make nice wireless P2P network or something?

  • by 920 ( 450020 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @09:15PM (#32150792)

    Last I checked, the FCC only mandated the switch to digital over the air and had nothing to say what format was broadcast over private networks. That decision is just based on greed. (more free bandwidth and more converter box rental fees.)

  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @09:16PM (#32150804) Homepage Journal

    cellular-based pagers

    PAGERS???? What the hell is a pager?

    Twitter, but in one direction only.

  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @09:42PM (#32150942) Homepage

    Atmoshperic entry from GEO 15 minutes after reentry burn? No way.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday May 09, 2010 @10:24PM (#32151138) Journal

    You have to remember even a pebble at the kinds of speeds you can get up there can be catastrophic. This is why we the people of this planet really need to be working on a strategy for cleaning all the crap leftover from dead and broken sats. As you can see here [] just the amount of useless dangerous shit DARPA is tracking is just unreal, and that don't count all the tiny fragments that can tear through you like a bullet.

    So while blowing it up would be a spectacularly bad idea, we do need to have a way to deal with dead crap in space. As we get more and more sats, and have to deal with more solar flares and other unexpected problems, this problem is only gonna get worse. Perhaps we need to offer a couple of billion dollar bounty for the one that solves this problem?

  • by frist ( 1441971 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @10:34PM (#32151180)

    Think before you type.

    Think before typing? You realize this is Slashdot, right?

  • Re:Light pressure (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @11:06PM (#32151362) Homepage

    I guess you never saw one of these in science class back in high school: []

  • by Joe The Dragon ( 967727 ) on Sunday May 09, 2010 @11:13PM (#32151404)

    Cable should of used clear QAM for exp basic / non hbo , max , show, ppv and out of market sports. But what we got was paying $6- to up $20 per tv to rent a cable box. A cable card system that the cable co's make in to a joke and very few cable card boxes can do SDV (needs a cable co add on tuner). Tru2way is all most nowhere. The dta's are a joke analog sd only out and you get less then the old analgo line in some areas and you missing out on stuff like YOUR RSN over flow channel forcing you in Chicago Land to pay like $5-$7 per tv to get CSN +.

    In the old analog system you just need a box for old tv's and to get PPV and in some systems hbo , max , show, type stuff.

    But in Canada you can buy the box and not be forced to rent it.

  • Re:The only way (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @06:56AM (#32153270)

    again if black people in Africa have been on earth longer, and if all races are equal, then why didn't black people invent science and technology first?

    Primarily a lack of need. Africa is a pretty nice place for a primitive civilisation to live. When some of them got a bit bored/out-of-space/whatever, they wandered north, a bit east, further north and then west. These guys found themselves in a place that was pretty nice in summer, but REALLY crappy in winter by comparison to most of Africa... that is to say, Europe.

    These guys were still pretty dark skinned (although since the migration would've taken a long time, it's fair to say they were likely lighter already than the people that remained in central Africa). However, dark skin in these colder climates is really not such a good thing, and evolution being what it is, the lighter skinned of their children had better breeding chances until eventually the whole group was pretty "white".

    Now, living in this place wasn't easy. Biology alone couldn't cut it (extra fat layers will keep you warmer in winter, but cause you to overheat a lot in summer). So, they would have to invent some stuff, move away, or die. As it happens, the former happened and technologically the "white man" became the superior.

    All this time, the guys who stayed in Central Africa were pretty happy living there and didn't need to invent so much stuff... they still did of course - hunting equipment, farming concepts, basic housing etc; they just didn't need to go as overboard as their cousins who'd gone north did. Not through lack of ability, just lack of need. There is no conclusive evidence of any difference in intelligence between the "races" of humans of earth, but quite clear evidence of great differences in historical development. The only thing that this can therefore be put down to is "where the people were" rather than "who the people were".

    Posting AC since I'm basically feeding a troll here and it's wildly offtopic, but I was getting sick of all of these "nigger" post trolls that started going beyond the basic ranting and attempting to make pseudoscientific sounding arguments.

  • Re:Light pressure (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 10, 2010 @08:10AM (#32153616)

    A little anecdote on light pressure:

    The Japanese asteroid probe Hayabusa used solar light pressure to balance itself after accidents knocked out all of the thrusters and all but one of the reaction wheels, making it seemingly impossible to orient the probe correctly (you need three axes of control to orient anything in 3D). But in a fit of brilliance, JAXA decided to use the last working reaction wheel, bursts of xenon gas (propellent for the probe's ion engines), and the solar light pressure as the three axes. Although this sounds more like a McGyver episode than real life, it actually worked, and Hayabusa is due back on Earth next month.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.