SES To Move AMC-11 Away From Intelsat's 'Zombie' Satellite

SES World Skies on Monday announced plans to steer its AMC-11 satellite away from Intelsat's out-of-control Galaxy 15 for two weeks to minimize potential interference.

The Galaxy 15 satellite stopped communicating with ground controllers April 5. Intelsat said all media traffic on that satellite was moved to its Galaxy 12 satellite, the designated in-orbit spare for the North American region, and that there has been no service interruption to customers.

As the rogue Galaxy 15 satellite nears AMC-11's orbital location -- at 131 degrees West about 22,000 miles above the Earth's surface -- SES World Skies plans to have AMC-11 match the eastward drift of Galaxy 15 in order to maintain a minimum separation between the two satellites. At the same time, SES will move the recently launched SES-1 satellite to the opposite side of Galaxy 15, thereby enabling some customers, including cable television networks, to leapfrog their broadcasts over interference caused by the wandering spacecraft.

"This extraordinary technical initiative underscores our commitment to finding innovative solutions to minimize the impact of an unexpected event like this on our customers," Alan Young, chief technology officer of SES World Skies, said in a statement.

SES said customers will be able to either maintain services on AMC-11 during its drift or repoint antennas to SES-1. The company expects to initiate the synchronized eastwards drift of AMC-11 on May 25, and estimates that the risk of interference will end on June 7 when Galaxy 15 exits the area.

Intelsat, for its part, has "been working hand-in-hand with SES sharing network resources... to figure out how to minimize signal interference," Intelsat spokesman Nick Mitsis said.

Cable networks carried on AMC-11 include: The Weather Channel, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon West, MTV HD West, Bravo East, Lifetime, Showtime East, Hallmark Channel HD, C-SPAN, E! HD East, Food Network East, DIY Network, Great American Country, QVC, A&E East and West, History East and West, Military Channel, HD Theater, BBC America and Univision East.