Space mystery causes ‘technical anomaly’ knocking out Canada’s first commercial satellite

Originally posted on National Post | News:

A “technical anomaly” appears to have knocked out Canada’s Radarsat-1 satellite, which has been beaming images of everything from Arctic ice to oil spills down to Earth for almost 18 years.

The satellite, which gathered detailed images day and night, through cloud, smoke and haze, malfunctioned on March 29.

“Expectations of a full recovery are low,” the Canadian Space Agency said in a statement Tuesday.

An expert team is trying to determine what is wrong with the aging satellite, which helped “set world standards” for Earth observation, says Michel Doyon, manager of flight operations for the space agency.

Doyon says it is unlikely the satellite was hit by space trash, which is a growing concern as orbit grows more congested.

“We’re pretty sure it was not debris,” Doyon told Postmedia News.

“The initial indications point to a power problem,” he said, explaining how, on the evening of March 29, Radarsat-1 suddenly stopped communicating.

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