‘Zombie’ Still Stalking Skies


It’s baaaaaaack: Intelsat’s incommunicado
Galaxy 15 satellite is on a course to pass near the orbital
paths of three SES World Skies spacecraft over
the next two months — including AMC-18, one of the
primary satellites used by Comcast Media Center.

Intelsat lost control of Galaxy 15 in April, and the socalled
zombie satellite in May threatened to interfere
with SES’s AMC-11, which delivers more than 100 cable
networks in North America. The two companies worked
together to “leapfrog” AMC-11 over Galaxy 15 and successfully
avoided interruption of service.

Now, “G-15” is expected to fly by AMC-18 on Nov. 24;
AMC-1 on Dec. 4; and SES-1 on Dec. 15. Intelsat has “begun
our discussions with SES, offering our facilities and
support as well as sharing our technical and operational
information, in an eff ort to assist them as they finalize
their interference-mitigation planning for the upcoming
fly-bys,” Intelsat spokesman Nicholas Mitsis said.

Comcast Media Center currently uses about 20 transponders
on AMC-18 to deliver the HITS Quantum digital
video distribution service to cable operators. SES
shot that satellite into space in late 2006, and it became
operational in February 2007. At press time, a CMC
spokesman was checking into the company’s response
plans with regard to Galaxy 15.

CMC also uses transponders on AMC-1, along with
InDemand Networks and other programmers.

Meanwhile, Intelsat has been working with Ottawa,
Canada-based Telesat to prepare for G-15’s fly-by
of the Telesat Anik F1R satellite on Nov. 12. The companies
completed Galaxy 15’s fly-by of Anik F2 on Oct.
24. “Naturally, our current focus is with Telesat,” Mitsis

Galaxy 15 was launched Oct. 13, 2005, and was expected
to have been in service until 2022.