Comms Satellite status : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Does any person out there know the Y2K status of the Global satellite systems?

Seems to me the Internet will get very dark come the Digital Winter without these devices.

-- Bob Barbour (, May 19, 1998


"Does any person out there know the Y2K status of the Global satellite systems?"

I would think that the "Embedded Chip" problem would be a consideration. Also, as we are entering a new Solar Cycle, where the Sun will have very active Solar Storms, (Solar Flares). This along with the Software, Firmware, and Hardware problems, made possible by the lack of complete Y2k Remediation, will have its way with the tons of new satallite systems as well as the old.

-- Dave Jones (, May 19, 1998.

I just heard on the news that the satellite G4 is "missing", or not working. Hmmm...wonder what's up with that? Y2k? Probably not, but it is a taste of what's to come...

-- Frank Anderson, Jr. (, May 19, 1998.

According to usenet news, Galaxy 4 has suffered a fuel cell rupture which has knocked it out of geostationary orbit. It's still talking to its operations centre and has spare fuel cells, so it may be salvageable.

In the meantime it's causing a considerable amount of trouble: again hearsay, a large percentage of USA pagers are out, various radio and cable TV broadcasts are affected, and I noticed that was misbehaving (which may be coincidence, it seems OK again as I write)

Like the Auckland power failure, this is a valuable warning of what may be in store, even if it proves (like the power failure) that software played no part in the failure.

As for the original question: it's pretty much unanswerable. Most of the code in those birds can be reloaded from the ground, (so it's remediable without any shuttle missions being needed) and there's virtually certain to be a last-resort program in ROM that shouldn't be date-sensitive to keep the bird alive if the main code crashes. So plausible scenarios range from successful remediation in advance, through a glitch while surviving bugs are eradicated, to total loss because the guidance system goes mad or things get too badly screwed up on the ground.

-- Nigel Arnot (, May 20, 1998.

One other comment to the original question, satellites are no longer widely used for point-to-point communications (that's mostly ground-based fibre). The main role for satellites is broadcast (pagers, radio and TV) and communications to moving vehicles (planes and boats). Therefore, even if all the satellites die, phones and the internet will survive that. Of course, it may be very a different story with respect to Y2K bugs in systems attached to the fibres.

-- Nigel Arnot (, May 20, 1998.

According to CNN: "Galaxy 4 lost contact with Earth on Tuesday when its onboard control system and backup switch failed".

Either way, I wonder if it is related to Those Solar Flares or Meteorite fragments??

-- Dave Jones (, May 20, 1998.

There is more to satellite use than personal communication (on planes, boats, or pagers) and public broadcasts (radio, tv).....

A certain retail furniture company's home office is not receiving any orders from their local retail stores today. Why? Because they installed satellite uplinks from their stores to the home office. A dish on top of each building. Implemented EDI (electronic data interchange) via satellite. Got rid of those old junky modems (oops!). And now, the whole thing is dead in the water.

The stores can't: send in new orders, check previous order status, or check inventory for availability. If EDI is also used for other transactions, the local stores possibly may not be able to: upload payroll/timecard info, submit end of day receipts (of course now there aren't any), check distribution schedules, or check/change customer delivery schedules.

How long can a store stay in business if they are on hold like this? How long would you pay clerical/sales staff to hang out and do nothing? How many customers would just go elsewhere?

I wonder how many other companies use (were using) links of this type...and how many of those have poor or non-existing contingency plans......

-- Addie Ryan (, May 20, 1998.

Please don't keep us in suspense! What furniture store is it?

-- Annie (, May 20, 1998.

Sorry, I didn't intend to create suspense - I don't know if it is appropriate to post the name of the company on the net. There is still a possiblity they will get an alternative solution soon and I don't want to cause harm to the company (long term damage, if there is any, will be apparent soon enough).

-- Addie Ryan (, May 21, 1998.

I heard Jack Rivkin of the Travlers Group on CNBC Squawk Box. He said that this satellite problem is a precurser to the year 2000 problem. He also said that Fidelity Investments are training their employees to use paper instead of computers. Word is getting out.

-- Annie (, May 21, 1998.

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