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Satellite breakdown plunges Arctic radar into dark

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Satellite breakdown plunges Arctic radar into dark

Old 10-07-2011, 06:17 AM
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Default Satellite breakdown plunges Arctic radar into dark

One the biggest and heaviest commercial satellites put into orbit by Ottawabased satellite operator Telesat has turned its back on the Earth, leaving Canada's air traffic controllers without Arctic radar and communication.

According to Nav Canada spokesman Ron Singer, several important systems in the North were lost after Telesat lost contact with the communications satellite Anik F2 at 6: 30 a.m. Thursday.

"Our operations have been affected, but through backup systems and procedures, which have been activated, we've been able to mitigate much of the impact through these measures," Singer said.

Radar above the 54th parallel was put off-line and the normal communications systems between aircraft and the ground stopped working.

"We were able to use backup systems, which include satellite phones - obviously not on the same satellite - or high frequency radio, where available," Singer said.

Because of the loss of radar, air traffic controllers had a lower level of control over aircraft and were forced to space them 10 minutes apart, instead of the normal much tighter variable vertical and horizontal separation. The change in aircraft spacing is standard whenever radar coverage is lost. According to Nav Canada, several flights were also diverted south of the 54th parallel.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/Satelli...#ixzz1a5sEBpKS
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