Zombie on the Loose!May 11th, 2010 at 10:30 am by T.J. Del Santo under General Talk, Technology, Tony's Pinpoint Weather Blog
Well, now there is truly a zombie on the loose in outerspace. An ‘undead’ satellite threatens other satellites. A solar flare fried the brain of the satellite, and it can’t communicate with ground control. So, it is alive, but really dead. The satellite, Galaxy 15, may crash into other satellites or steal signals from others. SyFy channel viewers and those in Luxembourg may lose their programming.
While Galaxy 15 is actually called a “zombie satellite”, this is truly a serious problem. Who knows how many
satellites this zombie could affect? While that’s a short term problem, a longer term problem is how we deal with solar flares. Solar flares happen all the time…and we can’t exactly compete with the sun. Realistically, one monstrous solar flare could wipe out many of our satellites. We can track the solar flares on spaceweather.com. Currently there are between 500-600 satellites in operation. Some are communication, some are military, some are research satellites. It’s possible, many of them could become zombies one day if one good solar flare heads toward Earth….then what would we do? No more cable or satellite TV, no more weather satellite pictures (the horror!), and possibly no more long distance cell phone. That would almost put us back into the Dark Ages!
We ran into a similar problem in 2008 when a spy satellite was rendered useless just after launch. The United States shot it down because it had a hazardous chemical onboard, hydrazene. Now, Galaxy 15 is rogue. What should be done? As of the writing of this post (May 11th), I haven’t read or seen anything about what could be done. The owners of the satellite, IntelSat, may try to re-establish contact with the zombie…if they can’t, it sure seems like it would be worthwhile to shoot this one down, too. Although, if you’ve ever seen a zombie movie, you can’t kill ‘em!