Classes were canceled for thousands of students who participate in distance learning programs when the guidance system aboard a U.S. satellite malfunctioned on May 19.

Galaxy 4, owned and operated by PanAmSat of Greenwich, Conn., tilted away from Earth at 6:13 EST, wiping out broadcasts across the country and proving how fragile wireless communications can be.

The loss of the satellite--which effectively pulled the plug on about 90 percent of the paging network in the U.S. and disrupted broadcasts by CBS, CNN, and National Public Radio--also hit many schools. ...

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