Galaxy 15 payload shuts itself down as satellite continues to spiral out of Intelsat’s control (Updated)

by | Aug 25, 2022 | Reliability Info, Satellites, Seradata News

Global satellite operator Intelsat revealed, on 18 August, that it had lost control of its direct broadcast satellite Galaxy 15, blaming geomagnetic storms. It now looks like the operator has also lost control of the satellite payload which shut itself down automatically on 31 August.   

Intelsat claims it “muted” the payload, according to, but it is known that the spacecraft’s payload was designed to shut down automatically if it did not receive a command within a certain period. 

Galaxy 15 is now drifting out of its geostationary orbit slot at 133 degrees West. Intelsat suspects a space weather disturbance knocked out the electronics systems used to communicate with the satellite and to maintain its geostationary position.

The anomaly first occurred on 10 August, according to Intelsat’s submission to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Intelsat was able to restore its command of the satellite on 14 August, but this was short-lived. Just a day later the anomaly resurfaced, Intelsat again lost communication with Galaxy 15.

Launched in 2005, Galaxy 15 carried the WAAS Wide Area Augmentation System for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“The satellite is otherwise operating nominally,” insisted Melissa Longo, spokesperson for the “Big Four” operator. It was “keeping earth pointing with all payload operations nominal,” she added. 

It is not the first time Galaxy 15 has gone off the grid. In April 2010, the spacecraft stopped responding to telecommands. Initial reports blamed solar storms, but the company later found that an electrostatic discharge caused a corruption in the satellite. It took around 11 months before Galaxy 15 resumed supplying its service to the WAAS aircraft navigation system, and 18 months altogether before the satellite fully returned to normal services, according to data from Seradata SpaceTrak.

The operator is working on recovering the satellite and said its customers could expect to “have service continuity” until a replacement satellite, Galaxy 33, is set up in November following its planned launch by SpaceX in October.


Intelsat owns a fleet of 52 satellites including hosted and Joint Venture capacity. Courtesy: Intelsat.


About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to

Related Articles

Intelsat orders two further software-defined GEO sats, but this time from Thales Alenia Space

Intelsat has ordered two geostationary (GEO) satellites with new “software-defined payloads” from Thales Alenia Space (TAS). The contract announced on Read more

After negotiations Intelsat places order for two Airbus OneSat satellites

Peter B. de Selding ( has revealed that after initially wanting three units in November 2020, Intelsat has had to Read more

Intelsat secures manufacturer for seventh C-band replacement sat as well as launches for all seven

Intelsat has brought to an end its extraordinary year of satellite and launch orders. On 17 September, it placed a Read more

Intelsat refines C-band replacement sat launch plans – some units ordered may not simply be “C-band” satellites

Intelsat has updated its C-band transition plan with the FCC. On 14 August it outlined additions to the launch schedule Read more

Bumper crop for US satellite manufacturers with six Intelsat orders and four from SES as other nations also see GEO upturn

Intelsat, the global satellite operator undergoing Chapter 11 proceedings in the USA, confirmed on 15 June that it had ordered Read more

FCC C-band clearing payments unlocked after SES and Intelsat commit to the accelerated process

Not to be out-done by fellow satellite operator SES, Intelsat also submitted their commitment to the accelerated C-band clearing process Read more

Intelsat files for Chapter 11 to help it secure US$4.87 billion in FCC C-band compensation…hints at identity of Maxar multi-satellite orderer

Intelsat, one of the primary FSS operators globally, announced on 13 May that it had entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy Read more

OneWeb files for Chapter 11 after its failure to raise finance is blamed on COVID-19

OneWeb LLC, a major player in the nascent LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellite communications market, put itself into Chapter 11 Read more