Another Pentagon satellite has been lost to space.
That’s the conclusion of the U.S. Air Force, which recently investigated what went wrong with the newest weather satellite in the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program.
Launched in 2014 and built by Lockheed Martin Corp., the spacecraft known as DMSP Flight 19 (DMSP-F19) experienced an anomaly on Feb. 11 and stopped responding to commands. The problem was traced to a power failure affecting cryptographic equipment within the command and control system. And because both sides of the system were impacted, there is no backup recovery option, according to a statement released Monday from Air Force Space Command.
“The satellite is not repairable and no further action will be taken to recover it,” the release states.
While the satellite remains in a stable configuration and is still relaying real-time tactical data to users, the quality of information will degrade as the spacecraft’s “pointing accuracy” deteriorates, according to the Air Force. It wasn’t immediately clear when the data will become unusable.
The program has run into problems before. An older satellite, DMSP-F13, blew up in February 2015 after a battery failed, creating tens of thousands of pieces of small debris and a potential problem for other satellites operating in sun-synchronous polar orbits.
Full article: Unresponsive Satellite Can’t Be Fixed or Recovered: Air Force (DefenseTech)