June 18, 2008

Kazakh Telecoms Satellite “Alive, but Not Breathing”

Excerpt from report by state-owned Kazakh TV on 16 June

[Presenter] Kazakhstan may lose the first satellite in its history, chairman of the National Space Agency Talgat Musabayev has told a briefing in Almaty. We reported earlier that the KazSat-1 telecommunications satellite went astray on 8 June due to a malfunction of the satellite's on-board computer system.

[Correspondent] Talgat Musabayev explained the current state of the first Kazakh satellite using simple language: "KazSat is alive, but it does not breathe". The reason is a malfunction of the on- board computer system which resulted in disruption of communication between the satellite and the ground control centre. Kazakh and Russian specialists are trying to repair the malfunction.

[Talgat Musabayev] Numerous attempts to resume work of the satellite have failed. KazSat is not receiving any signal from the ground control centre. We should note that the malfunction of the satellite is not the fault of specialists, it was caused by technical problems.

[Passage omitted: background]

[Correspondent] Talgat Musabayev put forward several ways of solving the problem.

[Talgat Musabayev] The on-board computer system does not respond to signals from the ground control system, so specialists are trying to reboot the system. Another way out is to direct the satellite to the shadow orbit where its on-board computer system will totally switch off. Thereafter, we, together with Russians, will try to get KazSat to its original location. If successful, we will switch on the satellite on 15 October.

[Correspondent] According to Talgat Musabayev, [communications] operators served by KazSat will not suffer. They can utilize foreign satellites until KazSat resumes its work. There is only one problem - the unpiloted Kazakh satellite is heading from east to west, which is dangerous for other satellites on its way. Yet, chances are very small that KazSat will collide with other satellites.

Originally published by Kazakh Television first channel, Astana, in Kazakh 1400 16 Jun 08.

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