Satellite operator begins dance of the dead
A satellite operator is set to take the unprecedented step of maneuvering two of its birds to dodge an out-of-control satellite that could cause service outages.
SES World Skies is maneuvering its AMC-11 to match the orbit of Intelsat’s Galaxy-15, which stopped responding to ground controls in April, while at the same time moving its SES-1 bird to the opposite side of the out-of-control satellite.
Signals from AMC-11 will then be leapfrogged onto SES-1, to maintain TV transmissions to the US.
Galaxy-15 is currently drifting into the path of AMC-11 and while there is no risk of a physical collision, the Intelsat bird could cause interference because its broadcasting systems are still functioning.
The nature and complexity of the procedure, which will commence shortly, is believed to be unprecedented in the commercial telecom sector SES World Skies told the BBC.
Operators normally make only slight adjustments to a satellite’s position, to maintain signal strength.