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
AUG 03, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Moon lava pits might be toasty environments for future astronauts
AUG 03, 2022
Moon lava pits might be toasty environments for future astronauts
In a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a collaborative research team from the University of Califo ...
AUG 10, 2022
Space & Astronomy
New Study Discusses Circle of Life for Supermassive Black Holes
AUG 10, 2022
New Study Discusses Circle of Life for Supermassive Black Holes
In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal, an international team of researchers discuss how black holes e ...
OCT 07, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Early Stellar Evolution Imprints in Stellar Oscillations
OCT 07, 2022
Early Stellar Evolution Imprints in Stellar Oscillations
A new study published in Nature Communications is shedding new light on the theory of stellar evolution. Astronomers at ...
OCT 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Have Discovered the Heaviest Element in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet to Date
OCT 18, 2022
Astronomers Have Discovered the Heaviest Element in the Atmosphere of an Exoplanet to Date
In a new study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics, astronomers have discovered the heaviest element ever found in ...
DEC 02, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News
DEC 02, 2022
Hunt For Dark Matter Gets Good News
In a recent study published in Physical Review Letters, an international team of researchers led by the Albert Einstein ...
DEC 05, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Solar System Wonders: Europa Chaos Terrain
DEC 05, 2022
Solar System Wonders: Europa Chaos Terrain
Jupiter’s second Galilean satellite, Europa, is one of the most awe-inspiring planetary bodies in the entire solar ...
Loading Comments...