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'Zombie' Satellite Still Stalking The Skies
Intelsat's Galaxy 15 Expected To Fly Near SES Spacecraft Over Next Two Months

By Todd Spangler - 10/29/2010 11:06:06 AM


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 so-called 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 effort to assist them as they finalize their interference-mitigation planning for the upcoming fly-bys," an Intelsat spokesman 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. A spokeswoman for InDemand said the distributor was preparing contingency plans for the Galaxy 15 fly-by, and she noted the company averted disruptions when it passed near AMC-11 earlier this year.

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," the Intelsat spokesman said.

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


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