Meticulous Maneuvers

It had all the makings of a Hollywood thriller. Scientists were left pondering for months what went awry aboard Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 satellite, causing a nine-month odyssey.

Intelsat lost contact with Galaxy 15 on April 5th, 2010. The mysterious glitch quickly led to collaboration among competitors aimed at steering everyone from cable TV networks to the National Weather Service clear of interference from the rogue satellite.

Reflecting on the unprecedented scenario that threatened to interfere with operators, fourteen satellites and their mission-critical payloads, SES WORLD SKIES CTO Alan Young cited a single-minded focus on customer service that kept the culprit in check.

The SES Engineering Group, Spacecraft Engineering and Flight Dynamics teams all played a pivotal role in the critical calculations required to ensure maneuvers were successful. The Payload Management Center controlled the numerous configuration changes to prepare the satellites, as well as the various service transfers with military precision. Asset Management moved spacecraft traffic and identified available transponders to backhaul traffic. Management and regulatory teams worked diligently to ensure timely company and FCC authorizations for the rare spacecraft maneuvers while our sales engineering teams kept our customers constantly informed.

“It was like a high-stakes leap frog operation in outer space,” said Young, describing the first-of-its-kind industry event.Alan Young, CTO for SES WORLD SKIES

The Terrestrial Engineering Group built temporary turnaround facilities, while the Operations Group managed those turnaround platforms 24/7 to keep customers in the clear.

To read the complete article, published in the BEAM magazine of SES WORLD SKIES, click here.