Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Satellite damaged by solar storm could interfere with much of US cable television service soon

There is a possibility that damage to a satellite owned by Intelsat Corporation could cause it to interfere with another satellite used by US cable television companies, starting May 23, if it approaches close enough.

The story was reported by Newsroom Solutions in Arkansas Matters, (web url) here.  Intelsat would not say which cable companies or areas of the US could be most affected.
It’s not clear if it could affect broadband Internet also.

Michael Weissenstein has a more detailed story (“Drifting satellite threatens US cable programming”) for WJLA Channel 7 (ABC) in Arlington VA, link here. There is no danger of collision with the Galaxy 15 satellite, and engineers have several strategies for keeping the Intelsat satellite from being close to the Galaxy satellite and causing prolonged outages.

In October 2003 there were solar flares that caused little disruption in the US (ironically, an episode of “Smallville” was based on a solar flare’s affecting the teen Clark Kent, and it was aired the same day as the real flare even though it must have been filmed months before). There is always a possibility that solar storms can disrupt terrestrial communications.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of solar prominence.

No comments: