March 21, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA said that Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) coverage has been restored to northwestern Alaska after tests showed that a satellite that malfunctioned last year was ready for return to normal service.
The Galaxy 15/CRW satellite began to operate erratically last spring and in late December ceased operation, affecting some airports and routings in northwestern Alaska.
Shortly after the shutdown, technicians regained control over the satellite, and analyzed its signals in a test mode for several weeks while returning it to its correct orbital position.
The satellite was restored to operational mode March 18 after tests showed that the satellite was providing coverage throughout its service volume.
WAAS enables pilots to fly IFR without reliance on ground-based navigation aids. When announcing that technicians had regained control of the satellite, the FAA said that operator Intelsat and the satellite’s builder, Orbital Sciences Corporation, “believe they have isolated the cause of the failure and have implemented corrective actions that will serve to prevent recurrence.”
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