An amateur astronomer has detected signals from a zombie corpse that has been inactive for nearly 50 years, called LES-5.
According to statistics, there are more than 2000 artificial satellites operating in orbit. By the end of their life, most of these satellites had a similar end: being deactivated, before completely burning when they fell back to Earth.
However, you may be surprised to learn that thousands of satellites have failed but are still hanging somewhere in orbit. These are called ‘zombie corpses’ – no longer in use, but not dead.
“Most “dead “satellites are no longer controlled by humans, or have been damaged to some extent,” said Scott Tilley, an amateur astronomer in Canada.
Although not well-trained in space astronomy, Scott Tilley has an endless passion for the hunt for ‘zombie’ satellites.
In 2018, Scott Tilley became famous when he found the signal from IMAGE – a NASA satellite that has been ‘missing’ since 2005. Launched in 2000, IMAGE has a research function as well as follow. watch the impact of the solar wind coming from the Earth’s magnetosphere. With Tilley’s help, NASA was able to reestablish communication with the probe after 13 years of communication loss.
After this success, Scott Tilley continued his search for the search for ‘living corpses’, even older than IMAGE.
“The oldest ‘walking dead’ satellite I’ve ever seen is Transit 5B-B. It was launched into orbit in 1965,” he said. This is a navigation satellite powered by nuclear power of the US Navy. It is currently still orbiting Earth in orbit. Despite being long-forgotten by operators, amateur astronomers are still interested in Transit 5B-B whenever it flies over the polar regions of the Earth.
Detected zombie corpses stopped working for nearly 50 years
Most recently, Scott Tilley discovered a signal from a zombie corpse that has been inactive for nearly 50 years, called LES-5. Built by the Lincoln Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, LES-5 was launched into orbit in 1967 to test satellite TV technology.
In 1972, LES-5 officially ceased operations and was controlled to enter the orbit of the cemetery, located at an altitude of 700-1,000km above sea level. This is the ‘resting place’ of satellites at the end of their life cycle, in order to avoid collisions with satellites that are still operating in lower orbit.
Despite being ‘forgotten’ for decades, according to Scott Tilley, LES-5’s solar panels can still generate electricity, helping this satellite’s antenna system to receive signals. normal.
Reportedly, during the search for LES-5, Scott Tilley found an article stating radio frequencies currently used by this satellite. From this clue, Scott Tilley decided to find a way to connect to the LES-5 UHF antenna.
“To do this, I have to install the antenna, as well as search for the necessary components and equipment. All of them need time to collect and assemble together.”
“What surprised me the most was that the LES-5 signaling system was still working,” he said. Even this amateur astronomer believes that LES-5 can still receive control signals from the ground, making it the oldest satellite still operating in geostationary orbit.
On the side of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – the “father” of LES-5, this unit is still carrying out many top secret projects for the US military. However, when NPR was contacted to ask whether LES-5 could still receive the control signal, the institute representative declined to respond.