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Astranis Alaska Internet satellite malfunction, backup planned.

The Arcturus satellite is seen moving into a geosynchronous orbit.


Satellite Internet service provider Astranis said Friday that its first commercial satellite in orbit, intended to provide coverage to Alaska, has malfunctioned. A backup satellite is planned for spring.

This is the initial push for a unique approach to providing internet service to underserved communities in remote areas. Astranis announced in May that Arcturus was “fully operational” and could begin service to Alaska as soon as mid-June.

The company said the company’s Arcturus satellite is experiencing problems with both of its solar arrays. Astranis CEO John Gedmark told CNBC that the problem “first appeared a few weeks ago.” On Monday, the company identified the root cause, which was a solar array drive assembly that was made by a vendor and not by Austranis.

“Solar array drives are the motors that spin the solar arrays to make sure they’re always pointing toward the sun, and they transmit that power back to the spacecraft. So if they stop responding and spin…you’re not going to get all the power you need,” Gedmark said.

Gedmark said the lack of power from the solar array meant its broadband communications “couldn’t work at full capacity,” but Astranis had identified the problem and knew how to fix it on future satellites.

Additionally, Astranis has “full control” of Arcturus, the company said.

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The company declined to name the vendor that supplied the solar array drives. Gedmark confirmed on Friday that — until the solar array issue — the parts built by Astranis were working. The company had successfully completed initial demonstrations of connectivity to remote locations in Alaska.

Pre-planned backups


Source by [CNBC News]



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