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Video of an Intelsat geosynchronous satellite that was having problems that suddenly worsened this week suggests the worsening was sudden and maybe catastrophic.
[N]ew data from ExoAnalytic Solutions, which has a network of 300 telescopes around the planet to track satellite movements in geostationary space, shows the situation has gotten markedly worse.
Since being alerted to the anomaly on Sunday, the company has been tracking Intelsat 29e with at least two telescopes at all time, the company’s chief executive, Doug Hendrix, told Ars. On Thursday, one of those telescopes captured the video embedded below, which shows a continued splintering of the satellite over a period of four hours. The ball of light at center is Intelsat 29e, and the streaks are background stars. First, there is a series of anomalous out-gassing events from the spacecraft, after which a persistent halo remains. As the halo dissipates, there are several pieces of debris that are continued to be tracked.
The video at the link is quite dramatic. Whether this failure was initially caused an internal failure or by an impact is presently unknown.