Black Mesa satellite
|The title of this article is unofficial.|
Although this article is based on official information, the actual name of this subject was created for the wiki.
This article is about the Black Mesa device. For the Resistance device featured in Half-Life 2: Episode Two, see White Forest satellite.
|Black Mesa satellite|
The science team at the Lambda Complex needed a satellite in orbit to end the alien intrusion from Xen. As the military had aborted the initial attempt, Gordon Freeman is sent to the High Altitude Launch Center to launch the satellite delivery rocket himself. The purpose of the satellite was later elaborated upon in the expansion, Decay.
It is explained that the satellite controls major recovery systems of the facility, and it must be in orbit for them to operate. The science team wants to use the satellite to orchestrate a resonance reversal which would seal the dimensional rift between the worlds. The rocket cannot launch without the all-clear codes, so Gina Cross and Colette Green are sent to the Level 3 Dormitories by Dr. Keller to find a security guard who knows the codes. Afterwards, they travel to the Black Mesa Air Control building so that they can set the air space monitor to send the codes, allowing Gordon to launch the rocket.
The satellite launch sequence is mirrored in Episode Two. Alyx Vance states that Dr. Magnusson wanted to use a different satellite to tune into the old array the science team had set up at Black Mesa, but he was unable to due to the Combine. The satellite launched by Gordon in Half-Life is part of this pre-existing array. Eventually, the rebels are successful in launching a satellite to shut down the superportal. The array is not mentioned again for the rest of the game, so it is unknown if it was ultimately used.
Behind the scenes
The satellite was to play a larger role in the storyline. There was originally going to be a satellite array which had to be active to tune the Lambda portal. One section of the array was in the Lambda core, one was in Earth's orbit, and one was in Xen as seen in Blue Shift. Furthermore, the player was meant to align a satellite dish at Black Mesa to tune in with the orbiting satellite in the cut chapter Communications Center. This sequence was recycled for Uplink.
The holographic globe at the launch center is believed to be a leftover from this incarnation of the story. It displays the status of the satellite portal array which is always shown as being offline. It features two satellites circling around the globe and a static satellite stationed near the north pole. There are two unused variations of the globe in Half-Life: Source's files. "
online.vtf" displays the status of the array as being online. "
activated.vtf" displays the message "warning - xen portal: activated" and was possibly intended to be used in the chapter Lambda Core. A holographic table can be seen in one of the level plans.
A satellite referred to as the "Alpha Satellite" is mentioned in one of the automated announcements before the incident. Some of the locations mentioned in the announcements are visited by the player in the later chapters, so this may be the name of the launched satellite. The satellite was to be mentioned for the second time in an announcement in the chapter Lambda Core: "Satellite target system, engaged."
Originally, the satellite delivery rocket's all-clear codes were to be found in a mission set in the Central Transit Hub. The satellite is referred to as the "Omega Satellite" here. The science team at the Lambda Labs was to explain that something is holding the rift open by force from the other side and preventing them from stopping the alien invasion. They wished to use the satellite to get clean readings on the rift, but this plan was thwarted as the military shut down the launch. Gordon is sent to launch the rocket himself, but he won't be able to because of the system's emergency shut down. In order to override it, Gina and Colette need to find the all-clear codes kept at the Central Transit Hub and upload the signal to the Black Mesa air traffic systems. When this mission was cut, the additional backstory for the satellite was also excised.
According to unused dialog, the original goal of Magnusson's Xenium Resonator to was to create a barrier around the planet rather than shutting down the superportal. Once in orbital range, it was to activate the old satellite launched by Gordon and turn it into a shield with subdimensional properties. Furthermore, it was to block the Combine's access to Earth even if they did manage to restore their portal network.
List of appearances
- Half-Life (First appearance)
- Half-Life: Decay (Mentioned only)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two (Mentioned only)
- Half-Life: Decay, Domestic Violence: "A satellite controls major recovery systems. Locate a security guard who knows the satellite signal codes."
- Half-Life: Decay, Code Green: "A satellite must be in orbit for recovery systems to operate. Upload the satellite signal codes before the delivery rocket launches."
- The HL Storyline Thread on ValveTime.net (September 26, 2003)
- Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar (uncorrected proof), page 158