A lost satellite is starting to cause headaches for satellites operators, which may impact TV viewing across Europe.
Amos 5 has been declared as “dead” after suffering a major electrical problem in November just after launch. All attempts to recover the satellite were finally given up on in the past week.
However, without any control over the satellite, it can’t be moved away from its current orbit, into the so-called graveyard orbit out of the way of operational satellites.
The powerless satellite, originally located at 17 East, has been moving slowly eastwards along “Clarke Belt”, the operational satellite arc, towards other operational satellites.
Amos 5 has now reached 19 East, and is closing in on the Astra 1 satellite cluster, which carries a lot of European channels, like German and French TV.
Reports now say that satellite operator SES, is starting to move some of its satellites out of the way, with Astra 1L has drifted slightly westward to 19.17 East, and it is due to move back to 19.2 East later in January.
However, as Amos 5 continues to drift slowly uncontrolled eastwards, it will come to the Astra 3 cluster, at 23 East, the orbital position used for Dutch TV and some Eastern European services, before encountering Badr 5 at 26 East and then the UK/Irish satellite TV position (Astra 2) at 28 East.
This may mean that satellite operators may have to move some or all satellites slightly to ensure that there is no collision with the dead satellites.
In theory no UK TV services in the UK should be affected by the emergency move of the Astra 2 satellites.
However, for those viewers in fringe reception areas, like Spain, Portugal, Italy and the south of France, the moving of the Astra 2 satellites out of the path of Amos 5, may result in a temporary drop or loss in some of the weaker UK TV signals.