AUG 06, 2017 7:54 AM PDT

'Anomaly' Breaks Communication with a Commercial Satellite

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There are so many satellites orbiting the Earth right now that they’re difficult to keep track of, and we just keep launching more of them. Several of these satellites belong to government space agencies, while others belong to commercial and private companies

An artist's rendition of a satellite orbting the Earth.

Image Credit: PIRO4D/Pixabay

Regardless of who they belong to, however, there’s the growing problem of space junk accumulating around our planet and posing real risks to these orbiting machines. As things get more crowded up there, it becomes harder to find places to put new satellites, and it also poses risks for satellites that occasionally need to move away from their typical geostationary positions.

Related: Space junk chips a window on the International Space Station

Commercial satellite communications company EchoStar recently tried re-positioning a satellite dubbed EchoStar III. Rather than being successful in re-positioning it, they're now regretting their choice to move it. An unknown anomaly reportedly occurred after initiating the move and wiped out effective communications with the satellite, making signals both intermittent and unreliable.

No one is sure exactly what happened just yet, but one possible explanation is that it was struck with space junk debris while veering from its usual geostationary position. Experts from EchoStar are working diligently with satellite manufacturer Lockheed Martin to try establishing a connection with it again, but reconnection isn’t guaranteed.

“EchoStar has received FCC authority for its current flight configuration, and we are working in cooperation with the satellite manufacturer to re-establish a reliable link in order to recover and retire the spacecraft,” EchoStar Satellite Services chief technology officer Derek de Bastos said in a statement.

“In spite of the anomaly, we believe that the current EchoStar III orbit does not present a significant risk to the operating satellites in the geostationary arc.”

On a more positive note, EchoStar III is an older satellite launched back in 1997 and has served the company well for 20 years. While there are high hopes that we can re-establish communication with the satellite, it’s not the end of the world if we can’t.

Still, we'll have to figure out what we're going to do with the space junk problem, or issues like this one could become more prevalent.

Source: EchoStar

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 13, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Star Cluster Born Outside of Our Galaxy is Discovered in the Milky Way
JUL 13, 2020
Star Cluster Born Outside of Our Galaxy is Discovered in the Milky Way
Scientists have reported the discovery of a vast stream of stars called Nyx in the vicinity of the sun.
AUG 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
A Very Distant Galaxy From the Early Universe Is a Lot Like the Milky Way
AUG 16, 2020
A Very Distant Galaxy From the Early Universe Is a Lot Like the Milky Way
With the power of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), astronomers have identified a very young gala ...
AUG 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
AUG 31, 2020
Understanding the Fate of Stars Consumed by Black Holes
If a star gets too close to a supermassive black hole, the forces exerted on the star tear it to shreds, generating a hu ...
OCT 01, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
OCT 01, 2020
Four Lakes Detected Under Martian Surface
  Researchers from Roma Tre University in Italy have confirmed the existence of four large lakes under the ice at M ...
OCT 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why Do Galaxies Come in Different Shapes?
OCT 22, 2020
Why Do Galaxies Come in Different Shapes?
When looking it galaxies, it takes little to realize that they come in different shapes- whether they're swirling bl ...
NOV 17, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Find Human Brain Shares Structure with Universe
NOV 17, 2020
Researchers Find Human Brain Shares Structure with Universe
Astrophysicist Franco Vazza from the University of Bologna, and Alberto Felett, a neurosurgeon at the University of Vero ...
Loading Comments...