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 Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata 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




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochina25virgin galacticFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 5falcon 9ULARoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekaressoyuzIGTInternational Space StationBeidouawardsspaceRocket LabStarlinkBlue OriginSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonISROAirbus DSCargo Return VehicleboeingmarsblogresearchOneWebspaceshiptwoorionjaxaimpacthyperboladelaymarsEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegabarack obamaconstellationSEStourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightnode 2fundedRaymond LygoIntelsat2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiomissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbittestinternetChina Manned Space EngineeringAriane 5Northrop GrummanSLSLong March 2D/2sts-122Electron2010space tourismflightcotsnewspapermissile defensegalileospaceportExpress AMU 1Long March 4Cbuildspace stationaltairinternational astronautical congresssoyuz 2-1ashuttleProton MEuropean Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosIntelsat 23scaled compositesrulesspace shuttlenew yorkhanleybudgetatvVietnamshenzhouAriane 6congressMojaveboldenLong March 2COrbital ATKnew shepardInmarsatGuiana Space Centeriaccneslunar landerksclawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BILSUS Air ForceprotonTalulah RileyApollodarpaFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Kuaizhou 1AVega CSkylonAstriumeupicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatNorth KoreaSSLElectron KSAprilSNC50thinterviewfalconSea LaunchLong MarchWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor