Catastrophic Failure of Telstar T401

Robert Sheaffer (
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 08:03:06 -0800

As some of you undoubtedly know, a few days ago the AT&T satellite
Telstar T401 (NORAD 22927) suffered a catastrophic failure while
in geosynchronous orbit. This required broadcasters such as ABC,
PBS, and FOX to scramble for replacement transponders.

The cause of the failure is as yet unknown (to the public at least),
and the loss of the satellite is rumored to be permanent. As this
failure occurred during a time of routine maintenance (i.e.,
manuevring), there is some speculation that the satellite may
possibly have moved outside its assigned position or orientation.

Can anyone confirm visually whether or not T401 is still in its
normal location? (Nothing but clouds and rain, alas, in California).

        Robert Sheaffer - - Skeptical to the Max!
     San Jose, California -  37 deg 17' 19" north, 121 deg 59' 09" west.

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