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Thread: Can a major satellite failure cause cell/internet/tv to go down?

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Can a major satellite failure cause cell/internet/tv to go down?

    Hi all,

    Daughter has an major paper to write an she needs to create an emergency situation. It can be either real or she can make one up. It has to deal with the different levels of government: local, state and national and how they would respond to the emergency.
    What their various functions and powers would be?

    How does the structure of federalism hurt or help in responding to the emergency?
    How would the response to the emergency be different if the powers of government were not divided by federalism and separation of power for example, dictatorship?

    I mentioned to her that I remember something happening back the late 90's with a satellite going down and all the pagers and cell phones went down. She liked that idea and wondered if it could happen again and if it did, would all the TVs go out now too as the stations are all now broadcasting in digital and not over the air. That changed here in the US back in 2009. And what about the Internet?

    So, my tech friends... would it be possible for:

    1. A satellite to go out and take cell phones down?
    2. A satellite to go out and take cell phones and tv down?
    3. A satellite to go out and take cell phones & internet down?

    Or some other sort of emergency like this that she could use for her paper?? And if so, can you provide some details??

    Thanks.
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    Novadays you just cut Internet to the Wall St. and you get world wide crisis

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    Старший оракул
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    1. Internet was created at 60-s as DARPAnet. It was designed to survive in a global nuclear war.
    2. Cell phones doesn't depend on satellites yet.
    3. Were local tv broadcasters lost satellite signal they would be able to use old VHS instead. The later could start the world digital rights war, though.

    P.S. I don't think that absence of TV is an emergency. There is nothing worth to watch anyway.
    Налево пойдёшь - коня потеряешь, направо пойдёшь - сам голову сложишь.
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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doomer View Post
    Novadays you just cut Internet to the Wall St. and you get world wide crisis
    Well Nasdaq doesn't house their data at Wall street, but good point. They used to have a backup system here in Maryland and got rid of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Полуношник View Post
    3. Were local tv broadcasters lost satellite signal they would be able to use old VHS instead. The later could start the world digital rights war, though.

    P.S. I don't think that absence of TV is an emergency. There is nothing worth to watch anyway.
    They might be able to broadcast, but who would be able to receive it? Sort of like the landline phones now. They are all digital now too for the folks that still have them. When the power goes out we only have 20-30 minutes of backup battery and then we are lost. When we had the major storm come through here we lost the cell towers, the landlines and the power. The only way we had to get information was radio. That was how we learned about services available and what was happening.

    The TV is important as they broadcast information as to what is happening during a disaster. What is open, what is closed. Where to get help and services.
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    Oh how exciting! Right up my alley - sort of... (the emergency part anyway).

    She should look up NIMS (National Incident Management System). This should help her with understanding how the different levels of government respond in an emergency.

    What subject is your daughter doing?

    Keep me posted!

    My suggestion would be to go with a disaster that is potentially small, but gets out of control. For example, a forest fire in California. Then she could talk about escalation in governmental response - as the situation gets worse and worse.

    Also, the issues involved with timing. When is the right time to implement "local plan X" etc etc.

    One point to make is that the United States federal structure is rather complicated. Internationally, emergency plans are generally simplified because when they are implemented, a lot of people have never seen them before. The federal structure makes it difficult to come up with a simple plan.

    Or more money has to be invested educating first responders before a disaster hits.

    I have a million ideas now.

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    I have strong doubts that one satellite lost would cause shutdown of the Internet, TV and cell phones altogether. Mostly all the connections has either multiple satellites support or ground cable (optical, digital or whatever else) support.

    By the way if it would still be the cause to lost all the connective possibilities it would need some external influence to destroy the satellite (such as an roaming asteroid for example). While there is enough our own human activity to make any sort of disaster. Let’s consider a popular trend such as flashmob activity. Imagine that people would organize a flashmob when all the dwellers of a big city (let’s say New-York or San Francisco) would switch off all the electricity in their houses off and on synchronously at the very same second. Since the power consumption is extremely high at the moments when a device is switched on or off it (in theory) can cause the total blackout for electrical power city wide supply. As a result you can lost cell phones connectivity, internet and TV altogether.
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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    So, this article from July... it is not completely valid or what?

    Four ways the Internet could go down - CNN.com

    When you think about Web surfing, you probably don't worry about what's happening on the surface of the sun 92 million miles away. But you should. Solar flares are one of our most serious threats for our communication systems.

    Consider satellite failures. One afternoon in 1998, the Galaxy IV, a $250 million satellite floating 35,000 kilometers above the planet,
    suddenly spun out of control. The main suspect is a solar flare: the sun was acting up at that time, and several other satellites (owned by Germany, Japan, NASA and Motorola) all failed at the same moment.

    The effects were instant and worldwide. Eighty percent of pagers instantly went down. Physicians, managers and drug dealers all across the United States looked down and realized they were no longer receiving pages. NPR, CBS, Direct PC Internet and dozens of other services went down. It is estimated that in recent years at least 12 satellites have been lost due to the effects of space weather.

    But it's not just satellites that we have to worry about. When a massive solar flare erupts on the sun, it can cause geomagnetic storms on the Earth. The largest solar eruption recorded so far was in 1859. Known as the Carrington flare, it sent telegraph wires across Europe and America into a sparking frenzy.

    Since that time, the technology blanketing the planet has changed quite a bit. If we were to get another solar flare of that size now, what would happen? The answer is clear to space physicists and electrical engineers: it would blow out transformers and melt down our computer systems. In a small disruption in 1989, an electromagnetic storm arrested power throughout most of Quebec and halted the Toronto stock market for three hours.

    A major solar event could theoretically melt down the whole Internet. What earthquakes, bombs, and terrorism cannot do might be accomplished in moments by a solar corona.

    Given our dependence on the communication systems of our planet, both satellite- and ground-based, this is not simply a theoretical worry. The next major geomagnetic storms are expected at the peak of the next solar sunspot cycle in mid-2013, so hang on tight.
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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    What about this article Grid Failure in 2012?

    "It is midnight on 22 September 2012 and the skies above Manhattan are filled with a flickering curtain of colorful light. Few New Yorkers have seen the aurora this far south but their fascination is short-lived. Within a few seconds, electric bulbs dim and flicker, then become unusually bright for a fleeting moment. Then all the lights in the state go out. Within 90 seconds, the entire eastern half of the US is without power."....
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    Почтенный гражданин diogen_'s Avatar
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    Cunning Russians can cause the meltdown of Greendland ice to prompt you use more fuel and skyrocket oil and gas prices.
    NY can be renamed into NV (New Venice) in the case! No more avenues anymore, only rivernues

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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    Very Cute diogen!

    Hey coffee cup (or others)... I recall you have been able to see Auroras from where you live. So what about the possibility of something like this happening again and being able to take out modern day communications?? Something like a Low-latitude auroras: the magnetic storm of 14 –15 May 1921?

    The 14 –15 May 1921 aurora was observed from Europe, across North America and the Caribbean, and in the Pacifc as far west as Australia. From observations in England, Chree (1921) judged the most disturbed period of the magnetic storm to be from 0000 to 0800 GMT (UT) on 15 May, with the subinterval from 0300 to 0730 UT being particularly active. This subinterval corresponds to local times from 2200 (14 May) to 0230 (15 May) on the east coast of the United States, 1900 –2330 (14 May) on the west coast, and 1300 –1730 (15 May) in Melbourne, Australia.

    2.3. Effects on telegraph, cable and wireless: Effects of the storm on communications were widespread and severe. In New Zealand (Gibbs, 1921), for example, signals at all radio stations were very erratic, telegraph lines suffered from violent fluctuations of current, and unusual interference was experienced at certain telephone exchanges.

    Overall the disturbances were of greater magnitude and more far-reaching than had previously been observed in New Zealand. In the United States telegraph service was affected to an unprecedented extent, such that on the 14th service virtually ended near midnight on lines from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi (New York Times, 15 May 1921). In one instance it took an operator nearly an hour and a half to transmit 150 words from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to the New York Times. Wireless signals from Berlin, Germany and Bordeaux, France, however, were strengthened. The storm was reported to have “blown out fuses, injured electrical apparatus and done other things which had never been caused by any ground and ocean currents known in the past”. It was anticipated that ships would have to drag up submarine cables to repair the damage (New York Times, 17 May 1921). The storm was reported to have burned out a telephone station in Sweden, and probably to have contributed to a fire in a New York signal tower. French telegraph lines were also affected, and “seemed possessed by evil spirits”. The Central New England Railroad station in Brewster, NY was destroyed by a fire which originated in the telegraph. The telegraph operator said that “he was driven away from his instrument by a Hare of Fame which enveloped the switchboard and ignited the building”. In the western United States telegraph communication was disrupted in Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; San Francisco,
    California; Seattle and Spokane, Washington; Winnemucca, Nevada; and Helena, Montana. Cable and telegraph lines to Alaska were completely out of commission for a time (Lyman, 1921).
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Завсегдатай rockzmom's Avatar
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    ok everyone... so I finally found the answer to my daughter's question... yes it is possible and FEMA & the Department of Homeland Security have created a presentation about it, yet I am not smart enough to understand it!!

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/sww/sww11/S...CCPublicV2.pdf

    So in 72 hours of a "G5" storm, we are all in big trouble?
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Okay, so this topic proved to be too difficult, so she switched to the Air Florida Crash of 1982. Thank you all for your help and comments. If either one of them decide to use it for another project, I'll let you know.
    I only speak two languages, English and bad English.
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    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    How about:
    North Korea launches a satellite and it crashes into another one?
    I'm easily amused late at night...

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