Kazakh TV off-air after satellite 'breathing troubles'

Russian sat flop flap sees mass Borat stranglings


Central Asian ex-Soviet republic Kazakhstan has reportedly lost all domestically controlled satellite TV services due to malfunctions in its sole communications spacecraft.

Kazakh space chief and former cosmonaut Talgat Musabayev said on Monday that the KazSat-1 platform, launched in 2006, was "alive but not breathing well ... It is not responding to commands", according to a Reuters report.

A space agency statement added that "there is a high probability that the satellite will be lost".

Kazakhstan is home to the Baikonur cosmodrone, a major space facility, but this is leased to and run by Russia. KazSat-1 constituted more or less the whole of the Kazakh space programme.

The satellite apparently became unserviceable on June 8, according to Musabayev, with devastating consequences for the nation's broadcasting industry. A number of TV companies have been driven off the air by the higher costs of alternate satellites, though major broadcasters have shifted platform.

Kazakhstan has strong space aspirations, with Kazsat-1 planned as the first of four spacecraft to be orbited by Musabayev's agency before 2020. The initial, now apparently doomed satellite was built and launched by Russia, and run from a Russian ground station, but Musabayev hinted that Kazakhstan may look to other providers in future.

With recent Soyuz re-entry problems casting something of a shadow over the Russian space industry's prowess and foreign-exchange earnings prospects - and with Kazakhstan rich in oil - the press briefing will be unwelcome news in Moscow. ®

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading
  • China-linked Twisted Panda caught spying on Russian defense R&D
    Because Beijing isn't above covert ops to accomplish its five-year goals

    Chinese cyberspies targeted two Russian defense institutes and possibly another research facility in Belarus, according to Check Point Research.

    The new campaign, dubbed Twisted Panda, is part of a larger, state-sponsored espionage operation that has been ongoing for several months, if not nearly a year, according to the security shop.

    In a technical analysis, the researchers detail the various malicious stages and payloads of the campaign that used sanctions-related phishing emails to attack Russian entities, which are part of the state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec Corporation.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022