Intelsat has announced that it has regained control over Galaxy 15 after a period of eight months of interoperability. The ‘zombie’ satellite was lost in space after an intense solar storm and could not be controlled anymore my the operator, thus posing a potential threat to other satellites and services.
On December 23, the power from the Galaxy 15 battery completely drained during its loss of earth lock and the Baseband Equipment (BBE) command unit reset, as it was designed to do. Shortly thereafter Galaxy 15 began accepting commands and Intelsat engineers began receiving telemetry in their satellite operations centre. Intelsat has placed Galaxy 15 in safe mode, and at this time it no longer poses any threat of satellite interference to either neighbouring satellites or customer services.
After completing initial diagnostic tests, Intelsat will load updated commanding software to the satellite. The operator expects to relocate the satellite to an Intelsat orbital location, where engineers at their satellite operations control centre will initiate extensive in-orbit testing to determine the functionality of every aspect of the spacecraft.