MOSCOW, July 6 (RIA Novost) – About 117 million residents of the Russian heartland were left without four state-run television channels earlier this week due to problems with a telecom satellite, the government said Friday.
The problem affected Russia’s European territories and the Urals on Thursday, the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media said in a statement on its website.
Broadcasting of the country’s two most watched channels, Rossia-1 and Channel One, was resumed within an hour for 90 percent of viewers in the affected area, the ministry said. But the less popular Culture Channel and Fifth Channel, as well as regional broadcasts, are still disrupted as of Saturday.
Reserve telecom satellites will be utilized to fix the problem. Broadcasting would be fully restored within 10 days for 98 percent of the affected population, the ministry said.
The remaining 2 percent will have to wait for up to three months because their received antennas need to be readjusted manually with the help of welder operators.
Contact with the broadcasting satellite, the Express-MD1, was lost Thursday due to faulty orientation of the satellite’s antennas, the ministry said. It did not say what caused the problem, but said it was working to restore contact with the satellite, launched in 2009.
The incident comes hot on the heels of the crash of the unmanned Proton-M rocket carrying three satellites for Russia’s navigation system Glonass. The rocket blew up seconds after launch on Tuesday for yet unclear reasons, the explosion broadcasted live on Russian television.