U.S. scientists say they’ve identified a massive solar storm that reached Earth and caused a satellite to malfunction, turning it into a “zombie satellite.”
A NASA sun-watching spacecraft observed the explosion of plasma and magnetic energy, called a coronal mass ejection, on April 3, SPACE.com reported Tuesday.
Charged particles in the solar storm disabled the Galaxy 15 communications satellite, causing it to lose contact with ground controllers on April 5, officials said.
While the satellite has stopped communicating with its ground control center, its telecommunications payload providing broadcast services to customers is stuck on, earning it the “zombie satellite” nickname, SPACE.com said.
The now-uncontrolled electronic signal from Galaxy 15 has forced other communications satellites to conduct occasional evasive maneuvers to avoid signal interference, officials say.