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Rogue Satellite Threatens Television

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | May 12, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | May 12, 2010 |

Intelsat has lost control of one of its television satellites, Galaxy 15, which is now madly dashing across the orbits of other satellites. Called a zombie satellite, the spacecraft is failing to respond to any commands, including a half hour stretch when signal was boosted to dangerous levels in order to overwhelm and shut down the satellite’s systems. All attempts to date have failed. Initially, the satellite was passing through space far from other satellites, but now, oh now my friends, it has ventured into the orbital space used by American television satellites.

Intelsat insists that there is no danger of actual collision, but that the rogue satellite’s blazing signal might interfere with American broadcasts. You might think that you’re safe since you didn’t get one of them fancy dishes, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Not just DirectTV and Dish Network, we’re talking satellites that distribute content out to the various local cable distributors. We’re talking about television Armageddon. We’re talking emergency broadcast channel time. We’re talking about being reduced to three grainy channels in black and white.

Oh no, they say, just a little bit of interference, you won’t notice a thing. Ha! They also claim that they don’t arm their satellites with unstable artificial intelligence and particle beams, so we already know that they’re lying with every word. Stockpile your season passes, record every minute, day and night, and maybe just maybe you can eek your way through the valley of the shadow.

(source: AP and

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.