You don't *want* to blow the satellite to bits because then you have a million little destructive satellites to track instead of one big one. The 2008 situation was a special case: the satellite was already falling back to earth, so all the little bits would burn up in the atmosphere.
Galaxy 15 was in geostationary orbit and is still at roughly that distance. The space shuttle can't reach geostationary orbit; it's too far away and the shuttle isn't built for it. When the shuttle deployed similar satellites, it released them in much lower orbits and they used a combination of small fuel burns and several months of waiting to reach the much higher geostationary orbits.