Satellite Online after Software Glitch

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 @ 12:10 PM gHale

First it shut down and pointed itself toward the sun to help regenerate power and now the Anik F2 satellite, which delivers service to Canadian and American subscribers including the WildBlue broadband service, returned to service.

Anik F2 had gone into automatic emergency sun acquisition mode Oct. 6 following what satellite fleet operator Telesat Canada described as “a routine maneuver.”

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The maneuver “triggered the satellite to place itself into a safe mode, shutting itself down and pointing itself at the sun to ensure it remained powered,” Telesat said. “The software error that led to the anomaly appears to have been caused by a software update that was recently provided by the satellite manufacturer. That particular software update was not re-loaded onto the satellite.”

Anik F2 launched in July 2004 for a 15-year mission. It is a 702-model spacecraft built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, CA.

“The investigation of this technical anomaly is underway, but we believe that the cause of the interruption may be due to a software error,” said Boeing spokesman Matthew P. Billingsley. “Boeing is assisting our customer with the investigation.”

When the satellite went out, there were reports the downtime caused flight cancellations, and also taking ATMs and mobile phone services out of action in some areas.

Internet and some cable TV services also felt the affect, along with flights and ATMs. However, satellite phones in the affected communities remained operational, as they use a different satellite, officials said.

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