Satellite Outage hits U.S., Canada

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 @ 03:10 PM gHale


For those relying on satellites for communications, the Anik F2 satellite stopped providing working last Thursday, cutting out services to people and workers in the U.S. and Canada.

Its operator, Telesat Canada, described the glitch as “a technical anomaly” and said the Anik F2 satellite will return to normal operation. There are reports the downtime caused flight cancellations, and also taking ATMs and mobile phone services out of action in some areas.

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“Telesat is now undertaking to return the satellite to normal operations and is working with its customers on Anik F2 to restore traffic in an orderly manner and minimize the impact to their networks,” the company said.

Officials are still looking into the cause of the malfunction, but they do know is not a part of the solar storm that happened the same day. “There was an issue on the spacecraft, and it went into safe mode,” said Telesat spokesman John Flaherty.

In safe mode, the satellite shuts itself down and turns itself toward the sun, with its panels in the best position to power its batteries.

Internet and some cable TV services also felt the affect, as did flights and ATMs that relied on Anik F2 for connectivity. However, satellite phones in the affected communities remained operational, as they use a different satellite, officials said.

Satellite-based ISPs including WildBlue also suffered a hit, with customers losing web access during the outage, CNET News.com reported.

Boeing-built Anik F2 launched in 2004 to provide communications services, including commercial satellite-based broadband, to North America, including rural areas. It has another eight years to run on its contracted life.



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