Space Norway restores redundancy for Svalbard ground stations

TAMPA, Fla. — Space Norway has restored communications on an undersea fiber-optic cable it operates between its Svalbard satellite station and mainland Norway, which had left the Arctic region without a backup connection after failing Jan. 7.

A shunt failure caused a loss of power to signal repeaters on one of two cables that connect the Arctic region, state-run Space Norway said Jan. 19. 

“Through a work around applying alternate power supply to the damaged cable, the redundancy was restored during the evening of January 18th, 2022,” state-run Space Norway’s head of infrastructure Dag Stølan said in a news release.

“This minimizes the operating risk until final cable repair can be performed probably in the February 2022 timeframe, depending on the availability of cable vessel and the necessary weather conditions.”

KSAT, which Space Norway half owns and uses the cables to connect 100 Svalbard ground stations, said customer services from the archipelago continue to operate normally.

“The damaged segment has been stable in operations after data traffic was re-established, meaning that redundancy to Svalbard is now available in standby mode,” KSAT head of communications Nina Soleng told SpaceNews in a Jan. 20 email.

Soleng said work is ongoing to identify the exact location of the power supply issue.

A subsea visual inspection involving a remotely operated vehicle is “planned for next week,” she said.

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