Shared space

The ethics of satellite use

At 6:18 p.m. EDT on May 19, 1998, the primary control processor of the Galaxy 4 satellite failed. Twenty-two thousand miles below, millions of Americans discovered that their pagers and credit cards no longer worked. The failure disrupted video feeds, meaning that CBS, Reuters news service and National Public Radio had to scramble to find an alternate means of transmitting their programs. Since then, the world has come to rely even more on satellites. Today any major problem with the Global Positioning System would disrupt fire, ambulance and police operations around the world and paralyze the global financial system.


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