Solar panels moved to avoid meteor showers
Hong Kong-based satellite operators yesterday shifted solar panels and adjusted systems in an attempt to avoid damage from this morning's meteor shower.
But Asia Satellite Telecommunications and APT Satellite Holdings said chances were extremely low of a collision with asteroids and fragments from the Leonid meteor shower.
Extra staff were being called in to satellite control centres overnight at Asiasat's Causeway Bay offices and the Apstar control centre in Tai Po to cope with any disaster. Solar panels were being rotated a few degrees to avoid being hit by debris from the shower.
Some instruments were being turned off to prevent circuits aboard satellites being shorted by electrically charged clouds formed from disintegrating particles.
Solar panels would be parallel with the direction asteroids were flying to minimise any damage, APT assistant to the president, Brian Lo Kin-hang said. Particles of ice and dust were expected to be tiny.
Travelling at 71km per second, dust particles would hit the satellites 'like a bullet', Mr Lo said.
APT, which has three satellites in orbit, said chances of a collision were only 0.1 to 0.05 per cent.