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Monday, 3 January, 2000, 22:12 GMT
US satellites safe after Y2K glitch
Pentagon admits satellite bug was a serious problem
All US military satellites have been restored to normal operation after a brief encounter with a Y2K glitch on New Year's Eve, the Pentagon has confirmed.

At midnight GMT on Friday, a US spy satellite system was hit by the computer bug as a ground-control station lost its ability to process the information streaming in from space.


For a short period of time we were not able to process the information that the satellites were sending to us, but we're operational now

Defence Secretary John Hamre
In a rare admission of military intelligence failure, the Pentagon described the glitch as a significant problem.

Officials refused to say where the station was located or which satellites were involved but stressed that a back-up plan was in place within three hours.

Defence Secretary John Hamre said on Saturday: "For a short period of time we were not able to process the information that the satellites were sending to us, but we're operational now."

That meant the Pentagon once again had access to top priority data from the affected satellites but it took two more days to restore the system to full operational status.

Otherwise, the military experienced few problems, Hamre said.

$91,000 video charge

"We did have a cash register that refused to process receipts in Okinawa," he said.

"We've had a fairly small number of instances like that, a number of occasions the computer system defaulted to an earlier operational date, and those were quickly restored."

As for civilian life, the US financial markets opened for business without any reported incidents, the President's Y2K taskforce reported.

There have been no problems with the country's infrastructure and only minor glitches reported by a few small businesses.

The worst impact so far has been on the unfortunate video-rental customer in New York who was charged a late fee of $91,000 for a movie that had apparently been out in his name for the past 100 years.

See also:

03 Jan 00 | Americas
03 Jan 00 | Talking Point
01 Jan 00 | Science/Nature
31 Dec 99 | Americas
02 Dec 99 | Europe
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