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Spacecom: Quick recovery after amos-5 anomaly

Spacecom announced that “all communications and signals from the AMOS 5 satellite at the 17 degrees east orbital position have been lost”. The satellite suffered a sudden and total loss of communications on Saturday, November 21, 2015. Spacecom focused its best minds and capabilities - as well as those of its partners on trying to re-establish communication with the satellite. Unfortunately, all attempts to regain contact and resume services for sites in Africa ultimately failed, until Signalhorn stepped in.

The challenge

As a provider of critical communication solutions, near 100% availability is both expected and demanded by our customers worldwide. Delivering bespoke services and solutions at this extremely high level is why many business, governments and organisations rely on Signalhorn Trusted Networks. As part of our supply chain, Signalhorn partners with several orbital satellite operators, so when - what was described by Spacecom - long-time operator of the entire AMOS satellite fleet, as an “anomaly” occurred, the stage was set for a period of intense strategic maneuvers in the days ahead.

 

Within a relatively short timeframe, Spacecom announced that “all communications and signals from the AMOS 5 satellite at the 17 degrees east orbital position have been lost”. The satellite suffered a sudden and total loss of communications on Saturday, November 21, 2015. Spacecom focused its best minds and capabilities - as well as those of its partners on trying to re-establish communication with the satellite. Unfortunately, all attempts to regain contact and resume services for sites in Africa ultimately failed.

“An impressive response to a potential disaster. ”
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Executive
Spacecom
The solution

Quick but measured thinking and a “can-do” attitude automatically took over as management and technical staff at Signalhorn instantaneously started developing a viable solution. The events that followed ultimately lead to what one Spacecom executive characterised as an “impressive response” to a potential disaster. By midday on Saturday November 21, information was already being collected on a per-site basis for the 400+ affected sites including details on the exactly what types of hardware is installed at each location, and importantly, what radio frequency capabilities the related equipment uses.

 

Within the next 18 hours - and after analyzing the footprints and technical capabilities of more than 20 satellites in order to match them to the various types of equipment installed at our customer’s sites, we successfully identified an excellent replacement satellite. Yamal-402 was the perfect choice from a technical standpoint and had the necessary capacity available to handle the load transfer.

By Monday morning, Signalhorn teams set about repointing antennas at our teleport in Leuk Switzerland and adjusting downlink frequency ranges to match the new target satellite. Although we had a viable solution on the go at this time, a remarkable amount of work still needed to be performed in order to rectify the situation. Adjustments for the new satellite space segment involved a number of technical considerations such as frequencies for the Yamal-402 satellite, specific aspect ratios, the iDirect network needed to be reconfigured and 400+ option files needed to be created. Add to this the financial impact that needed to be deliberated and rationalised for the best interest of each and every individual customer and you have a formidable task to conquer that would require a team that is prepared with the technical and commercial know-how to turn a situation like this around.

Within the next 12 hours, teams from Signalhorn had designed and presented repointing schedules to affected customers that included a specific target date for re-activating their sites. Over the following 48 hours, a strategic repointing campaign for “in-field” equipment was developed and launched. All sites required hands-on attention to repoint antennas to the new satellite - Signalhorn coordinated and dispatched speciality teams directly into the field to assist its customers.

All throughout this near crisis situation, feedback from our customers was extremely positive. Many particularly emphasised how much they appreciated the commitment Signalhorn’s management and staff demonstrated by communicating regularly with them and working tirelessly to the point of final resolution.

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