SAT Observations 97.12.26

A news release from Cairo, Egypt, located at 30.3 North - 31.15 East,
sponsored by TELE-SATELLITE INTERNATIONAL, Europes Satellite Magazine.
- Satellite and Transponder Observations in C- and Ku-Band,
- Commented from the Middle Eastern perspective.
		(the end is near, run for your life, if you can...)

-- Launch Information
-- Editorials
-- Transponder News
-- Bits & Pieces
-- SAT-MidEast Intern


LAUNCH INFORMATION, http://www.satcodx.com/launches.shtml
On December 22nd, Intelsat 804 was successfully launched with Ariane
V104, to be located at 64 East.

The next Ariane launch V105 is scheduled for January 27th with Brasilsat

The upper stage of an International Launch Services Proton rocket failed
early yesterday, leaving an Asian communications satellite in a
worthless orbit. 

The Russian-built booster was launched at 6:19 p.m. EST (01:19 CAT)
Wednesday from remote Kazakstan carrying the Asiasat 3 spacecraft for
Asia Telecommunications Company Limited of Hong Kong. 

However, about 6 hours and 20 minutes into flight, the Block DM upper
stage motor failed during the second of its two planned burns. "The
engine has been working only one second instead of 110 seconds," said
Konstantin Lantratov, spokesman for rocket manufacturer Krunichev State
Research and Production Space Center, told Reuters. 

Asiasat 3 separated from the RSC Energia-built upper stage, but will not
be able to achieve its intended orbit, ILS reported. The motor -- which
burns liquid oxygen and synthetic kerosene -- was to release the
5,586-pound Asiasat 3 into a geosynchronous transfer orbit 6 hours, 41
minutes after launch. The spacecraft was intended to operate in a
geostationary orbit 22,300 miles above the equator at 105.5 degrees East

The second firing of the Block DM during the Proton launch sequence
occurs once the satellite reaches a point 22,300 miles above Earth in an
effort to circularize the orbit. But without the burn, Asiasat 3 is left
swinging around the planet in a highly elliptical orbit with a low point
of just 155 miles. 

The Block DM booster has caused all three failures for the Proton
program in the past years, Krunichev's deputy managing director
Alexander Lebedev, told a news conference in Moscow. The previous
failures involved the Russian Raduga and Mars '96 satellites. 

Both the rocket and satellite were insured, officials told the news
conference. Neither Krunichev or Asia Telecommunications Co. expect to
suffer financial losses. The costs for the launcher and spacecraft were
not released, but experts say the mission was probably worth around $270

The Hughes-built Asiasat 3 was designed to provide television
distribution and telecommunications services throughout Asia, the Middle
East, Australasia, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The
satellite featured 28 C-band and 16 Ku-band transponders, with a useful
lifetime of 15 years. 

Ground controllers have acquired a signal from the spacecraft and say it
is stable. A spokesman from Asia Telecommunications said his firm plans
to order a replacement spacecraft, and could possibly use the Proton
again given its "superb record." 

Today's failure was the first for a Proton rocket this year following
eight successful satellite launches. It was the fourth and final ILS
Proton launch for 1997. Nine ILS commercial launches are planned next

For now, all Proton launches are considered grounded pending the outcome
of an investigation into the failure. International Launch Services is a
corporate venture between the American Lockheed Martin Corp., and
Russian aerospace companies Krunichev and RSC Energia to market the
Proton and Atlas rockets globally.
(SME, Source: Flatoday)                             
Orbit, the largest pay-TV network in the Middle East and North Africa is
poised to launch its Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), the innovative
companion for television viewing, on January 1. Subscribers to the
broadcaster s content-rich channels will receive up-to-the-minute
programme listings and information at the touch of a button.  Orbit EPG
s index page appears on page 300 of the Orbit receiver--viewers then
just follow the simple on-screen instructions. Orbit s unique EPG
system, proudly sponsored by Al Jazirah Vehicles, is also to include
detailed programme descriptions at a later date.

"The speed and clarity of data are the key benefits of Orbit s EPG",
explains Sean Perry, Orbit s VP of Transmission Systems, "users will
have a simple way to navigate through the rich array of programmes and
make their selections". For example, to view the line-up for the region
s premium sporting channel Orbit-ESPN Sports,  which is on channel 18,
viewers simply tune in to page 318. He adds "Orbit EPG makes available
24-hours of scheduling for every channel".

Orbit s original and user-friendly EPG is a speedy instrument to obtain
instant programme information on Orbit s channels, such as the premiere
packed Super Movies, STAR Movies or America Plus--showing the latest
award-winning series from the U.S.

Coming on top of the 24-hour assistance and advice available from Orbit
Direct s telephony centre in Cyprus, the electronic programme guide is
further evidence of Orbit s commitment to total customer service. The
substantial flow of e-mail between viewers and the broadcaster s
thematic channels also reveals the growing trend towards interactivity;
resulting in enhanced service for the individual viewer.

Schedules for the Orbit channels are also available in the monthly Orbit
Guide publication, in renowned dailies or publications with TV listings
and from the Orbit Faxback (Kuwait +965 564 5516/17 and Cyprus +357 909
5300), where viewers may receive programming schedules from the comfort
of their own home at the touch of a few buttons.

THAICOM 3, 78.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/thai78.html
Chinese CAB Ch3 and CAB Ch1 have been testing for a week on resp. 3.510
GHz, H and 3.530 GHz, H. The full name for the channels' broadcaster is:
"Asia culture Satellite Broadcasting TV Station", based in Hong Kong.

Both channels have ceased testing on December 12th.

APSTAR 2R, 76.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/apstar2r.shtml
Transponder 9A, 3.960 GHz, H, was fired up with a strong empty carrier
on December 21st. No transmissions could be seen.

SME Comment: The Apstar 2R satellite has been seen transmitting empty
carriers on all C-Band transponder one day only. Thereafter for a couple
of weeks a very strong testcard appeared on November 27th on tranponder
12B, 4100 GHz, V, which was seen by me on the day of it's dissapearance
with quite heavy distortions. Until today this transponder shows a very
strong unidentified signal, whereby all other transponder remain silent,
not counting the few days of transmissions of a Mongolian 2-channel
MPEG-2 bouquet to honour the 50-Year anniversary of the inner-state.

I suspect that the difficulties in the Asian financial markets prevent
several potential broadcaster to occupy their eventual reserved
transponder space.

PANAMSAT 4, 68.5 East,  http://www.satcodx.com/pas4.shtml
Channel O - Sound TV on 3.743 GHz, V, as part of the Multichoice Africa
package, is now encrypted and running now 24-hours a day.

Sima-yeh Moghavemat on 4.034 GHz, H is now daily 19:30-21:30 CAT.

ART (Arab Radio & Television) has been using transponder 19, 11.524 GHz,
H, for feeds, with early morning tests on 23/12 and the long duration
transmission from Bethlehem on the evening of the 24th. An ART logo with
"LIVE" in Arabic, in the left top, the logo of the PBA (Palestinian
Broadcasting Authorization) in the lower left corner. 

INTELSAT 801, 64 East, http://www.satcodx.com/i801.shtml
NewSport and Orbit/AFN promos on 4.080 GHz, LC, in MPEG-2 are now

INTELSAT 703, 57 East, http://www.satcodx.com/i703.shtml
There have been some internal number changes in the Orbit package:
Ch 22: Channel V International/Viva Cinema
Ch 27: The History Channel/Granada UK TV

ARABSAT 2B, 31 East, http://www.satcodx.com/arab2b.shtml
Ku-band transponder 3, 12.563 GHz, H, was activated with an empty
carrier at 50 percent saturation level this week. The activation of the
Ku-transponder rarely occures, I observed it only for the second time
since the launch of the satellite.

On C-Band transponder 13, 3.996 GHz, RC, a long standing feed, with
Kuwaity logo, was broadcast due to a conference of Heads of State.

HOT BIRD 2, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb2.shtml
Polonia 1 returned to 11.977 GHz, H, after several interuptions due to a
relocation of the up-link site. They seem to be stronger now than before
the break.

HOT BIRD 1, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb1.shtml
Thai TV 5 Global Network has been testing on 11.248 GHz, H,
MPEG-2/clear, SR 5632, FEC 3/4, PIDs 1062{4194}/1063[4195} or

EUTELSAT II-f1, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/e2f1.shtml
In the night between 22 and 23 December CET, Eurotica Rendez-Vous
started parallell transmissions on transponder 39, 11.658 GHz, V, in
D2-MAC/Eurocrypt S2.

To prevent a new flooding of my mailbox, just contact the broadcaster
Tel.: +331 6991 6991, Fax: +331 6991 6990, E-Mail: tvsms@aol.com
The cost of one year subscription is (USD)$249 or (BP)129.

For detailed information on-line: http://www.hotbird.com

NILESAT 101, 7 West, http://www.satcodx.com/launches.shtml
The Nilesat Organization has an interesting web site:

INTELSAT 803, 21.5 West, http://www.satcodx.com/i803.shtml
The Intelsat 803 was succesfully activated in the night to December

TV5 has started on 4.022 GHz, RC, PAL/clear, 6.60 Mhz, East Zone Beam.
Excellent reception, with high signal readings in Cairo.

INTELSAT 605, 27.5 West, http://www.satcodx.com/i605.shtml
NTA (Nigeria) has started on 4.043 GHz, LC, PAL/clear, 6.60 MHz,
probably south east beam.

SAT-MidEast Intern, http://www.sat-net.com/sat-mideast/

The latest issues of the SAT Observations in HTML format will remain
available on the SAT-MidEast website as long as they are not have been
integrated in the individual satellite archive pages.

SME Comment: I assume it was all ment well, but I believe it is a nasty
Several readers, friends, colleagues were sending huge chunks of
unrequested data around the world, clogging the net, but most of all my
mailbox ! I think this is the worst kind of net-pollution around, a
short personal message would do wonders. You can trust me: I did NOT
read nor open one of those files, they have been "binned" immediately,
sorry for the eventual personal efforts.

Two files (each more than 3 Mb) had even faulty data, which prevented
them from a complete download. I had to call the service provider to
delete those files from the server, as my mailbox became unaccessable. 

Still: Merry Christmas to you all and a prosporous New Year.
(SME Webmaster)

That's all folks, meet ye in the afterlife !

Henk C. Room / SAT-MidEast / Cairo - Egypt
- SAT-MidEast maintains a web site with relevant Middle Eastern
- satellite information, and a regular updated, satellite based,
- archive of observations, features & news for the Middle East. 

         SAT-MidEast: http://www.sat-net.com/sat-mideast/

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