A dead, non-functioning satellite may no longer raise eyebrows, but a satellite which comes back to life is certainly something interesting. The satellite in question is Intelsat’s Galaxy 15 communications satellite which lost communications with ground control in April this year after an unexplained breakdown.
The Galaxy 15 continued to transmit signals as a ‘zombie satellite’, posing a risk of interfering with the signals of neighboring satellites. The spacecraft's manufacturer, Orbital Sciences did not know when they would be able to get back control of the zombie satellite and tried the shut down the spacecraft multiple times without success.
But on December 23rd, the satellite sprung back to life and started accepting commands from the command center. According to Intelsat officials, the battery on Galaxy 15-which relied on solar panels pointed at the sun to generate power, became completely drained. Once that happened, the satellite reset itself as designed and began accepting commands from Intelsat's control center.
With the Galaxy 15 now accepting signals, there is a chance that the satellite could become fully functional again.
“After we complete the initial diagnostic tests on Galaxy 15 and the drift of the satellite stopped, we expect to relocate the satellite to an Intelsat orbital location where we will assess the viability of the payload, and conduct extensive in-orbit testing to determine the functionality of every aspect of the spacecraft,” Intelsat officials said.