Debris of AMC-9 satellite may lead to disaster in space


Debris of SES’s AMC-9 communications satellite may collide with other satellites orbiting close by.

Last month, a major anomaly caused a loss of contact with the satellite when it was orbiting above Mexico and the US. The contact was restored on 1 July.

Though the debris is not likely to lead to damage on Earth as it will burn up while entering the atmosphere, there are concerns that if it hits the satellites nearby, it could put them off course.

Launched by SES in 2003 through the Proton vehicle, the geostationary satellite offers coverage over Mexico and the US.

"There are concerns that if it hits the satellites nearby, it could put them off course."

To track the satellite and debris, SES has teamed up with tracking service provider ExoAnalytic Solutions.

ExoAnalytic chief executive officer Doug Hendrix told Arstechnica.com: “We have seen several pieces come off of it over the past several days. We are tracking at least one of the pieces. I would hesitate to say we know for sure what happened."

The AMC-9 was manufactured by Thales Alenia Space and is coming to the end of its 15-year lifespan.

Following the anomaly, SES shifted most of the traffic of the AMC-9 to its other satellites.