The recent failure of PT Telkom’s 18-year-old Telkom-1 satellite highlighted the risk associated with prolonged operations of aging satellites. Announced as a pointing anomaly on August 26, the incident may indeed be much more serious than initially thought. As video evidence collected by ExoAnalytic Solutions suggest, the satellite is seemingly breaking apart, leaving behind a track of reflective material.
The incident caused an expensive disruption of services. According to Reuters, about 15,000 ground terminals used by government agencies, banks, and broadcasters were cut out. The electronic payment industry was hit particularly hard, as thousands of ATMs and electronic card payment machines went offline, affecting the transactional infrastructure that makes commerce possible. A complete restoration of the service may take two weeks or more, so it is still early to get a complete estimate of the economic damage.