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Space storms and satellite failure

Amid feelings of apprehension and anticipation, Canadians looked skyward as scientists launched satellites into the solar system in the 1960s. The primitive satellite program has since evolved into a highly sophisticated network. Canadian scientists have actively taken the lead in this ever-growing industry, transforming our lives with improved telephone, radio, television, tele-medicine and Internet access.

media clip
They thought it could never happen but within hours of each other, both the Anik E1 and E2 satellites have malfunctioned and shut down because of a space storm. Transmission services to the major media outlets have come to a jarring halt and telephone and radio operations are instable. Engineers and scientists are scrambling to fix the satellites as Canadians realize how dependent they've become on satellites.
• The solar storm was exceptional because it released excessive levels of radiation. This disabled the primary control mechanisms on both satellites.
• The backup system for the E1 satellite was activated but the engineers couldn't immediately reboot the E2. Five months later, engineers regained control of the Anik E2.
Medium: Television
Program: Prime Time Magazine
Broadcast Date: Jan. 31, 1994
Guest(s): Ian Angus, Len Stass, Barry Turner
Host: Pamela Wallin
Reporter: Bill Casey
Duration: 2:28

Last updated: January 10, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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