Zombie Satellite: No Dead Air


PRINCETON, N.J. — For millions of
cable viewers nationwide, The
Flight of the Zombie Satellite
thankfully turned into a snoozer
of a show over Memorial Day

Intelsat’s Galaxy 15, which
stopped responding to ground
controllers April 5, had threatened
to disrupt the transmission of
dozens of cable networks in North
America carried on SES World
Skies’ AMC-11 satellite.

The two birds crossed longitudinal
paths at orbital position 131
degrees West beginning Sunday,
May 30, into Monday, May 31. SES
moved AMC-11 away from the
out-of-control satellite, ultimately
“leapfrogging” over Galaxy 15
last Monday. In addition, AMC-11’s
power was temporarily adjusted to
be more sensitive than Galaxy 15.

The efforts appeared to
have been successful, with no
interruptions reported by AMC-11
customers, according to
SES and Intelsat.

AMC-11 delivers more
than 100 cable networks
across the U.S., Canada and
the Caribbean, including
A&E, Discovery, Food Network,
Hallmark Channel,
Hallmark Movie Channel,
Lifetime, QVC, BBC America,
CMT, Comedy Central, E!
East HD, HD Theater, HGTV,
MTV West, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon,
Spike TV, Universal
HD and 24 feeds from
Showtime Networks.

SES was working to
transfer customers back to
their normal uplink facility
last week, chief technology
officer Alan Young said.
Galaxy 15 is expected to
continue drifting eastward, exiting
AMC-11’s orbital box on June 7.

SES had used Intelsat’s Clarksburg,
Md., teleport to execute the
avoidance maneuvers. Intelsat also
provided turnaround services via a
19-meter uplink tracking antenna
to all AMC-11 customers.