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No. 9: Winter 1979

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Bermuda Triangle In Orbit

Every time the British research satellite Ariel 6 passes over British Columbia and the Caspian Sea, something turns off the high voltage power to two of its experiments, leaving a third power supply unaffected. Even more eerie is the discovery that the sun must be shining on the ground for the phenomenon to occur. The radio commands controlling the switching are coded on a 5 kHz subcarrier superimposed on a l48.25 MHz carrier. The frequencies and coding are so highly specific that it is hard to imagine how the spurious commands arise. Also peculiar is the finding that the undesired switching can be prevented by simply beaming the pure carrier at the satellite just before it enters the two mystery zones.

(Schwartz, Joe; "Mystery Beams Affect UK Satellite," Nature, 280:25, 1979.)

Comment. This is only the latest in a long series of mysterious spacecraft electronic problems.

From Science Frontiers #9, Winter 1979. 1979-2000 William R. Corliss