AID SATURDAY, MAY 23, 1998 TECHNOLOGY THE SALINA JOURNAL Y SATELLITE FAILURE Satellite problem highlights risk of network reliance Failure affected millions of pagers, credit card purchases, computer downloads By KEAY DAVIDSON New York Times SAN FRANCISCO — This week's failure of a key communications satellite illustrates America's dangerous dependence on vast, complex and fragile networks of satellites, electric power grids, transportation routes, gas pipelines, aqueducts and financial webs. In October 1997, a little-noticed presidential commission concluded that the nation's economic health, and perhaps national security, are threatened by its reliance on such networks. The satellite failure, dramatized by the coast-to-coast blackout of 32 mil- lion pagers on Tuesday, vindicates the concerns of the President's Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection, commission members said Thursday. Commission member Nancy J. Wong said that when she read news reports about the satellite incident, "I was quite saddened because this is what the commission had feared. We're seeing an increasing number of these things occur.... We're so used to them working that we just assume they will always be there." "So far, there's been no 'smoking keyboard,' no 'Pearl Harbor' so to say ... (yet on Tuesday), 90 percent of the pager systems went out," she said. "Think about what would happen if air traffic controller systems were dependent on a satellite like this." Another commission member, Mary J. Culnan, said "this event is a wake-up call — or hopefully a wake-up call." It was not clear what caused the satellite incident. On Tuesday afternoon, the Galaxy 4 satellite, which is perched 22,300 miles over Kansas, turned away from Earth, apparently because of the failure of its on-board computer and backup. Experts say they have ruled out the most science-fictionish explanations, such as sabotage and meteor impacts. The satellite failure affected mil- lions of Americans who couldn't buy gas with a credit card, download news reports from their computers, get news from National Public Radio, or use a pager. At the time, many had no idea that the pager signals were routed by satellite. PanAmSat of Greenwich, Conn., which owns the satellite, has been shifting communications services to other satellites. On Thursday, company officials said the majority of U.S. pagers were working again. They said they were restoring gasoline customers' ability to pay at the pump at the rate of more than one station per minute. A replacement satellite will be launched in late 1999, com- pany spokesman Don Marcus said. The presidential commission anticipated an even scarier scenario than the satellite problem. "'; The nation is ever more dependent on sateUites in the Global .Positioning. System, which allows pilots to navigate planes, sailors to find harbors, hikers to locate shelter, soldiers to evade obstacles and drivers with onboard navigation systems to locate the grocery store. "If everybody is depending on this. (GPS system) for navigation — with-, out a backup system — and if somebody can jam the satellite, then nobody can navigate anymore," said-7 Culnan. ' ' TNASA Space station delayed NASA recommends construction to start at end of year By MARCIA DUNN The Associated Press CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — In what's become almost a rite of spring, NASA recommended on Friday that the start of space station construction be delayed again — this time, until the end of the year — because of Russia's money crunch. Under the current plan, the first part of the international space station is supposed to be launched in November, a full year behind schedule. NASA spokeswoman Debra Rahn said representatives of all participating space agencies will review NASA's recommendation at the end of this month. "We're anticipating that the partners will approve those launch dates," she said. The Russian Space Agency was supposed to send up the first component of the station, a chamber for providing power and control, last November. But last May, NASA postponed the launch to June 1998. The reason: The Russians could not complete another component — the all-important service module — on time because of inadequate government funding. Earlier this month, NASA said that June was out and that the first assembly mission would be no earlier than August. But officials finally settled on November. The Russians had pushed for a November launch to limit the amount of time the first piece would be in orbit and thereby limit the amount of fuel it would use before their next piece arrived. If the plan is approved, a Russian rocket will carry up the motion-control chamber on Nov. 20. Space shuttle Endeavour would follow on Dec. 3 with the next component, a connecting passageway. The third piece — Russia's belated service module — is supposed to be finished in time for a spring 1999 launch. Astronauts and cosmonauts cannot live on the space station until the service module and its life-support systems are in place. T NAVAL ADDRESS Clinton warns of threat of cyberattacks By The Associated Press ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Warning that America is increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks, President Clinton ordered the strengthening of defenses against terrorists, germ warfare and other unconventional security threats of the 21st century. In a commencement address Friday at the U.S. Naval Academy, Clinton said critical parts of the nation's infrastructure already are endangered. "Hackers break into government and business computers," he said. "They can raid banks, run up credit card charges, extort money by threats to unleash computer viruses. "If we fail to take strong action," the president said, "then teror- rists, criminals and hostile regimes could invade and paralyze these vital systems, disrupting commerce, threatening health, weakening our capacity to function in a crisis." On.a beautiful spring morning, Clinton paused to shake hands with — or hug — each of the 769 men and 139 women of the graduating class. Following tradition, they hurled their academy caps skyward after a round of cheers. ELECTRONIC SAVINGS To CELEBRATE! COMPAQ. COMPUTER CLEARANCE SAVE $ 100- $ 1300 on selected Compaq computers Choose from computers featuring Intel Pentium® processors with MMX™ technology, Pentium® II processors featuring MMX™ technology, or AMD-K6™ MMX™ enhanced processors. (Monitors sold separately.) Orig. 999.00-2699.00, Now $699-$1999. 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