Author Topic: AMC-18 anomaly  (Read 2958 times)

Offline WindnWar

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AMC-18 anomaly
« on: 09/29/2017 01:40 AM »
I work in Broadcast Television. Today we were informed from Encompass a provider of satellite space for live feeds that our lottery feeds were being moved from SES-1 to SES-2 in order to free up space due to an anomaly with AMC-18 another SES bird that hosts a number of cable feeds. In order to make room for those feeds, temp feeds like the lottery feed that was hosted there was moved to SES-2.

I can't find any info on AMC-18 being out of service though its scheduled to be replaced by the upcoming SpaceX launch on the 7th.


Online Ben the Space Brit

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Re: AMC-18 anomaly
« Reply #1 on: 09/29/2017 06:34 AM »
They might just be shutting down AMC-18 early. It depends what might be going on behind the scenes: If the operator has been warned that the spacecraft is another AMC-9 or Telkom-1 waiting to happen, then they might have decided to move it to its graveyard orbit now rather than cross their fingers and hope.
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Offline WindnWar

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Re: AMC-18 anomaly
« Reply #2 on: 09/29/2017 01:24 PM »
That's possible, though the suddenness of having to move the feeds tells me whatever is wrong was unplanned to happen so soon. Normally scheduled moves are done with a week or two notice as many sites only have fixed dishes and it takes time to re-aim them. This was done with only about 6 hours notice for a feed that airs daily.

Online Chris Bergin

Re: AMC-18 anomaly
« Reply #3 on: 09/29/2017 03:13 PM »
Whatever the issue, I thought it was fascinating to hear of the impact to broadcasters. I'm sure I'm not the only person who turns on their TellyBox and doesn't give much thought to the satellites feeding us the pictures. :)

Offline ChrisC

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Re: AMC-18 anomaly
« Reply #4 on: 09/30/2017 04:09 AM »
I'm also in this business, although not a customer of AMC-18 so not affected by this apparent outage.  But I'll provide some background.

SES was formerly known as SES Americom, the merger of (you guessed it) SES and [GE] Americom.  The SES-x satellites came from the SES side, and the AMC-x satellites came from the Americom side.  So when they talk about moving customers between those satellites, they are doing it because they own those platforms, not because they are colocated.

And to further illustrate this, here are those satellites, from the excellent Lyngsat listings:

 87.1W    SES 2    C/Ku
101.0W    SES 1    C/Ku
103.0W    SES 3    C/Ku
105.0W    AMC 18   C

Some of those satellites are close to AMC-18, but close ain't good enough.  If you move a customer from AMC-18 to another, you are requiring that customer to move antennas to the new satellite.  That is a massive undertaking, normally scheduled months ahead of time, especially if you have a lot of podunk receive sites involved.  You are asking someone to go out to the grassy field (or up on the roof) and move a big metal antenna to the left a bit, and that antenna probably hasn't moved in several years.  So it's rusted in place, and once you do bust it loose, then you can't find the new satellite ... Much drama ensues.

Also note the bands - C vs Ku.  AMC-18 is a C-band only satellite.  C-band is used in more professional applications, like TV distribution to cable companies, NOT direct to home, so that reduces the number of receive stations you've got to deal with (by orders of magnitude).

Again looking at Lyngsat, but this time the AMC-18 listings, you can see that HITS (Headend In The Sky) is THE major customer of the bird, so this could affect lots of smaller cablecos -- not the Comcast / Charter / AT&T / etc services that operate in big cities, rather the small town CATV operations, typically across the less populated parts of the country.  They are probably pulling their hair out right now.

I see that NBC is also on that satellite, so you might see some interruptions in NBC this weekend.  But more likely, they've got redundant feeds on other satellites for just this scenario, and you won't see a single hiccup.
« Last Edit: 09/30/2017 04:22 AM by ChrisC »
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Online Galactic Penguin SST

Re: AMC-18 anomaly
« Reply #5 on: 09/30/2017 04:30 AM »
I was surprised to see that AMC-18 was in service for only 10 years up to now (we even had a launch thread for it!) and it was already scheduled to be replaced by SES-11 way before this incident. Does that mean that the satellite already had other problems before?
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline WindnWar

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Re: AMC-18 anomaly
« Reply #6 on: 09/30/2017 05:16 AM »
The wiki page stated it was to have a 15 year design life on a Lockheed A2100 bus. While digging around to see if there were any news articles on it I found one from May about radio stations receiving programming having to move from AMC-8 to AMC-18.

https://radioink.com/2017/05/15/youve-got-45-days-migrate-amc-18/

As ChrisC pointed out these are C-Band feeds that typically are coming in on 3 plus meter dishes. C-band is used for these because there is no issue with rain fade in storms unlike with KU band feeds. The NBC feeds are collocated on 2 other birds in both C and KU, SES-3 has the KU feeds. In my 15 years working in this industry I've only had to rapidly move dishes to another bird due to a sat failure 3 times before this year. This year however i've had to repoint dishes 3 times. Fortunately for me, I use a steerable polar axis dish for this feed, so repointing isn't difficult with the help of a spectrum analyzer for peaking it. But a lot of stations have fixed dishes and without the aid of something like a Sat Buddy or a spectrum analyzer manually tuning them is a beast of a job.

AMC-15 and AMC-18 are both currently at 105 degrees, 15 supplies the KU and Ka bands for Echostar, 18 supplies the C band, launched in 2004 and 2006 respectively. SES-11 is replacing both of those it appears. Both AMC birds are A2100's. Seeing so many birds being operated for 15 plus years, this is an early swap for both.

https://www.ses.com/our-coverage/orbital-positions


Offline Hog

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Re: AMC-18 anomaly
« Reply #7 on: 10/01/2017 04:13 PM »
I




Also note the bands - C vs Ku.  AMC-18 is a C-band only satellite.  C-band is used in more professional applications, like TV distribution to cable companies, NOT direct to home, so that reduces the number of receive stations you've got to deal with (by orders of magnitude).


I remember the days when C-band was the primary means of delivering TVRO (TeleVision Receive Only) to customers.
Just prior to the Challenger incident, there were only 7 Ku band sats in use. Nowdays Ku band sats dominate.
I still have my 10ft BUDS outback, I'd love to receive NASA TV which is/was on AMC-18C transponder 3 3760mghz Vertical pol. at 105 West.
I remember watching STS launches on NASA Select back in the early 80s.


EDIT  Looks like NASA TV (formerly NASA Select) is now located on G13 at 127 west, C-band transponder 11 (3920 MHz, Vertical polarization), using DVB-S.
AMC 18 was launched with Ariane 5 - V174 2006-12-08.

Horizons-1/Galaxy 13 was successfully launched on October 1, 2003 at 4:03 UTC, aboard a Zenit-3SL rocket from the Ocean Odyssey platform stationed at the 154W over the Equator in the Pacific Ocean
« Last Edit: 10/01/2017 04:33 PM by Hog »
Paul

Offline Sam Ho

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Re: AMC-18 anomaly
« Reply #8 on: 10/02/2017 08:54 PM »
SES was formerly known as SES Americom, the merger of (you guessed it) SES and [GE] Americom.  The SES-x satellites came from the SES side, and the AMC-x satellites came from the Americom side.  So when they talk about moving customers between those satellites, they are doing it because they own those platforms, not because they are colocated.

The naming history is a little more complicated.  The original SES satellites were named Astra.

SES Americom (formerly Americom) operated the AMC satellites.  SES bought Americom in 2001.

SES New Skies (formerly New Skies Satellites) operated the NSS satellites.  SES bought New Skies in 2005.

SES Americom and SES New Skies continued to use AMC and NSS names until they merged in 2009 to become SES World Skies.  SES World Skies used the SES name on their satellites, including SES-1, which was previously AMC-4R, but was launched in 2010, after the new naming scheme.  On-orbit assets generally kept their old names.

Along the way, SES Sirius was folded into SES Astra in 2010, resulting in Sirius 4 being renamed Astra 4A on-orbit.

Finally, SES merged SES Astra and SES World Skies in 2011, though they still use both Astra and SES satellite names.

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