NEW YORK -- Telstar has turned silent again, apparently succumbing to a radiation sickness that afflicts it every three months, Bell Telephone Laboratories reported Thursday.
Engineers had restored the commnications satellite to working order Jan. 3 after a 40-day absence. Last Thursday it apparently misinterpreted a ground command, disconnected its storage batteries and quit working, Bell Labs said.
Both failures occurred as Telstar's changing orbit edged into strong sections of the Van Allen radiation belt. This pattern makes Bell Engineers "suspect that the continued inhibiting effects of radiation on transistors" is to blame, Bell spokesman Bruce Strasser said.
* Earlier post on Telstar: @
* "How the U.S. Accidentally Nuked Its Own Communications Satellite" (Scientific American, July 2012): @
Note: The satellite's demise happened the same week that the otherworldly hit song "Telstar" dropped off Billboard's Hot 100 music chart after a 16-week run. The song, which had been No. 1 in the U.S. for three weeks in December 1962-January 1963, was still a Top 10 hit around the world, including No. 2 in France, No. 7 in South Africa and No. 8 in Holland.
* Listen to the song: @
* Entry from "The Billboard Book of No. 1 Hits" (Fred Bronson): @
* Billboard magazine (February 16, 1963): @
* Billboard magazine (February 23): @* The Tornados (from www.allmusic.com): @
* The Joe Meek Society: @