A photographic image of a satellite in space.
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Courtesy of Corel Photography

U.S. Pagers Silenced
News story originally written on May 20, 1998

If you woke up this morning, only to find your pager not working, you're not alone! Last night at 6 p.m. EDT, the Galaxy 4 satellite stopped relaying pager messages. Over 80-90% of the 40-45 million American pager users lost service.

Apparently the onboard control system of the satellite failed, as well as the backup switch for this system. This means that the satellite can receive commands, but the satellite can't send signals back to Earth because it can't restore its proper orientation towards Earth.

PanAmSat, the company which owns the satellite, are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. If the satellite position can't be restored (SOON!), pager traffic and television traffic will have to be moved to another satellite. This can be done immediately for television signals, but it will take days to do this for pager signals.

Probably the hardest hit from this pager loss are the medical community and the international business community. Meanwhile, people are depending on old fashion communication - telephones and PA systems.

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