Animation Shows How SES World Skies Will Dance Around Rogue Satellite

Last week, in my article "Rogue Satellite Won't Die" I discussed what could happen as the out-of-control Galaxy 15 satellite approaches AMC-11.

As might be expected, SES World Skies have released plans for what I called a "celestial dance of satellites" and the use of large uplink dishes to reduce interference. However, some innovative twists are planned to further minimize the impact on AMC-11 customers.

The SES plan was announced Monday.

SES World Skies will move AMC-11 0.3 degrees to the east and then relocate it 0.3 degrees to the west of Galaxy 15 in order to maintain at least a minimum amount of separation between the two satellites for as long as possible. To maintain service while AMC-11 is being moved past Galaxy 15, SES World Skies will move the recently launched SES-1 spacecraft into position west of Galaxy 15. Programmers will be able to transition programming to SES-1 while AMC-11 is passing by Galaxy 15 on its move back to the west. If this sounds complicated, take a look at this amazing video showing the movements of the three satellites, including north-south oscillations.

As described last week, to minimize interference SES World Skies needs to put as little signal as possible into Galaxy 15's transponders. My analysis was based on the use of an 11 meter dish.

Broadband TV News, in the article "Plan to protect AMC-11 against 'Zombie' Intelsat" reported that customers deciding to stay on AMC-11 throughout the passage of Galaxy 15 will be using a 19 meter uplink. As expected, SES will also remove attenuators on AMC-11 and SES-1 to allow them to work with much weaker uplink signals. AMC-11 is expected to be affected by Galaxy 15 from May 25 until June 7.

The elaborate orbital maneuvers and the use of two satellites and a huge uplink dish should minimize the impact on the cable nets operating on AMC-11. SES said that cable operators in Hawaii, Alaska and the Caribbean should contact programmers directly for any mitigation plans, as there still could be severe degradation to service in those areas. The company also advises that cable systems with receiving antennas larger than 7 meters should contact SES to ensure that their antennas will continue to operate during the AMC-11 maneuvers.

The SES World Skies engineers did an excellent job developing this plan and SES management did a great job notifying customers and the public about it.

"This extraordinary technical initiative underscores our commitment to finding innovative solutions to minimize the impact of an unexpected event like this on our customers," said Alan Young, SES World Skies Chief Technology Officer. "A team of our best engineers and scientists is working around the clock to ensure the success of this unprecedented mission."

If you're using AMC-11, please drop me an e-mail if you see any problems with reception during the next two weeks.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.