Thesis Proposal Presentation by Elizabeth Howell on February 27th
Space Studies online master’s student, Elizabeth Howell, will give her thesis proposal presentation as follows. Please mark your calendars and show your support by attending.
When: Monday, February 27th at noon
Where: Ryan Hall, Room 132 - PLEASE NOTE ROOM CHANGE
Title: Caution Light: The Anik E2 Solar Disruption, and its Effect on Telesat Canada
Telesat Canada is a satellite communications firm, founded in 1969, that provides global broadcast and broadband services. Its fleet of satellites include the geostationary Anik line. On January 20, 1994, a major solar storm knocked out communications on two Anik satellites. Anik E1 was recovered from a backup system within hours. However, Anik E2 was non-operational until June 31, 1994, when engineers used an innovative ground fix to regain control.
The Anik E2 incident has not been studied extensively outside of media reports and a couple of technical papers, which is surprising given how much of an effect it had on Canada's tiny broadcast industry. Many news services and around 1/3 of Canadian television channels were temporarily wiped out. Telesat itself came to the brink of financial ruin when a Canadian bank froze its $200 million line of credit shortly after the incident, forcing the company to turn to its shareholders for money until another bank stepped in.
This thesis proposes to trace what happened to Anik E2 and its effect on Canada's broadcast industry. It will act as a case study for the implications for satellite companies looking to gird themselves against the effects of solar storms. Around 10 people with connections to the incident and knowledge of the effects of solar storms on satellites will be interviewed to learn what happened from a technical, managerial and policy perspective. (IRB approval has been obtained for these interviews, which will be recorded and subsequently archived at the Chester Fritz library.) News reports from the time will be consulted, as well as scientific papers explaining what happened and documentary sources pertaining to Telesat's business at the time.
The aim is to provide a comprehensive overview of what was learned from the near-loss of Anik E2 and to provide information for broadcast professionals, satellite technicians and policy makers concerning what can be done should a similar incident happen again.
Attendance via Connect-Pro: This presentation will not be available via Connect-Pro or any other form of webcast.