Cable TV Interruption Avoided as Satellite Scare Passes

AMC-11 Satellite
SES World Skies

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Earlier this month, Intelstat's Galaxy 15 satellite began drifting out of control. At the time, the owner of a satellite that transmits programming to all U.S. cable systems expressed concerns that the rogue satellite would distupt cable programming across the United States.

Although there was virtually no risk of an actual physical collision between the spacecraft, there still was the possibility of interference.

Not to worry.

The company, SES World Skies said on Monday that programming transmitted by its AMC 11 satellite would not be affected as no collision - or near collision - occurred. Ditto for Comcast, Time Warner and Cablevision Systems, according to the Associated Press.

Intelsat lost control of the Galaxy 15 in April and was thus unable to steer the satellite. The circumstances of the outage remain unclear, though one possibility is that a solar storm disabled the unit's control systems. Both the Galaxy 15 and the SES-owned satellite operated on the same frequencies, which increased the possibility of potentially crippling interference.

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    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.

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