Kazakhs Lose Control of Only Satellite

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's sole communications satellite, used by many of the country's television broadcasters, is out of control due to a computer glitch and is likely to be lost altogether, space officials said Monday.

Kazakhstan launched the Russian-built KazSat-1 satellite in June 2006, the first of four which it aimed to have in orbit by 2020 and which it said would establish the country as a global space power. Agency head Talgat Musabayev said the satellite, which experts said cost $60 million to $100 million at the time of launch, has been out of touch since June 8 and could no longer be controlled from a space command center in Russia.

Musabayev said a breakdown in KazSat's onboard digital computing system was to blame for its sudden failure, which forced major broadcasters such as the state-run Khabar TV to switch to more costly backup satellites. Smaller television companies have had to close.