SAT-MidEast 98.05.15

A news release from Cairo, Egypt, located at 31.15 East - 30.3 North,
sponsored by TELE-SATELLITE INTERNATIONAL, Europes Satellite Magazine
- Events and News interesting to the Middle Eastern SAT-viewer
- Satellite and Transponder Observations in C- and Ku-Band,
- Everything commented from the Middle Eastern perspective
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or: How to promote HBO's miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon" !

The HGS-1 satellite (launched as Asiasat 3) fired its motor at 5:42 p.m.
PDT Thursday, May 7, heading off on its nine-day journey around the moon
and back to Earth orbit.

This is the first known lunar mission involving a communications
satellite and the first mission financed by a non-governmental entity.

Controllers in the Hughes Mission Control Center in El Segundo, Calif.,
have confirmed that the spacecraft is on its way, by using signals
received at ground stations and images seen by optical telescopes around
the globe. The satellite reached a maximum speed of 24,000 mph after the
firing to send it on its nearly six-day outbound trip. On May 13, it
will pass behind the moon, coming as close as 5,000 miles above the

With an assist from lunar gravity, it will swing around the moon, change
directions and head off on its three-day return trip to Earth. On May
16, satellite controllers will begin braking maneuvers to help the
satellite settle into an orbit around the equator.

HGS-1 is an HS 601HP model satellite built by Hughes Space and
Communications Co. of Los Angeles. It was designed to provide television
and other telecommunications services for Asia and neighboring regions.
During its launch last Christmas day, however, the rocket that was
carrying it malfunctioned, leaving the satellite in an unusable, highly
inclined, elliptical orbit. The satellite itself is fully functional,
with 44 high-power transponders in C- and Ku-band.

After the launch failure, the original owner of the spacecraft filed an
insurance claim. The insurers declared the spacecraft a total loss for
its original purposes.

Scientists and engineers from Hughes Space and Comm and its subsidiary,
Hughes Global Services Inc. (HGS), devised a salvage mission using the
moon to move the satellite into a usable circular orbit. HGS has
obtained the title to the spacecraft, with the agreement to share
profits with the insurers if the satellite can be put to use.

During the last several weeks, Hughes controllers have fired the
satellite's onboard rocket motor several times to raise its altitude.
Friday's was the 12th firing, and it burned for almost two minutes to
give HGS-1 its final kick toward the moon. Controllers may use short
burns during the nine-day cruise to make minor adjustments in the flight

The commands for the final firing were sent to the spacecraft about 2
a.m. PDT Thursday, and HGS-1 executed the maneuver while out of view
from the ground stations. Controllers were able to confirm the motor
firing within about half an hour, and within another hour verified that
HGS-1 was on the correct trajectory.

The HGS-1 spacecraft became the first commercial communications
satellite to orbit the moon, passing behind it at noon PDT Wednesday to
grab a boost from lunar gravity and hurtle back toward Earth.

Engineers at the Hughes Mission Control Center in El Segundo, Calif.,
will begin braking maneuvers Saturday to guide the arriving spacecraft
into orbit around the equator.

HGS-1 is a high-power satellite built by Hughes Space and Communications
Co. of Los Angeles, and owned by its subsidiary, Hughes Global Services
Inc. (HGS). It was designed to provide television and other
telecommunications services for Asia and neighboring regions.

During launch last Christmas Day, however, the rocket that was carrying
it malfunctioned, leaving the satellite in an unusable, highly inclined,
elliptical orbit. The original owner of the spacecraft filed an
insurance claim, and the insurers declared the mission a total loss for
its original purposes.

Hughes scientists and engineers weren't ready to give up on the fully
functional satellite, however. They devised a salvage mission using the
moon's gravity to reposition the satellite into a usable circular orbit
22,300 miles above the equator, called geosynchronous orbit.

It is the first known lunar mission involving a communications satellite
and the first lunar mission financed by a non-governmental entity. If
Hughes can put the HS 601HP model satellite into a useful
revenue-generating orbit, it has agreed to share profits with the

HGS-1 began its lunar encounter at 11:52 a.m. PDT Wednesday. Occultation
-- the period during which it was behind the moon and out of radio
contact with ground controllers -- lasted until 12:20 p.m. The satellite
came within 3,883 miles of the moon's surface -- called perilune -- at
12:55 p.m. It's now on a 3-day return trip to Earth.

Over the next three days, Hughes controllers will prepare the satellite
for a retro burn that will slow HGS-1 as it approaches geosynchronous
orbit. The spacecraft is expected to execute the maneuvers around 8 p.m.
PDT Saturday. Controllers are using satellite ground stations, optical
telescopes and radar facilities around the world to track the

Hughes began the mission April 10, firing the satellite's onboard rocket
motor several times to raise its altitude. The 12th firing was May 7,
giving HGS-1 its final kick toward the moon.
(SME, various sources)

The 22-nation South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
believes launches from an ocean-going platform, planned by the SeaLaunch
consortium, could harm migratory birds and turtles by dumping tonnes of
carbon monoxide in the atmosphere and creating kerosene slicks.

Sea Launch Ltd, a joint venture involving Boeing and companies from
Russia, Ukraine and Norway, plans to launch satellites from the Equator
800 kilometres south-east of Kiritimati Atoll in Kiribati. Final testing
is expected later this month before preparations begin to launch the
first satellite, Panamsat's Galaxy XI, in October.

The site was chosen because the Equator is the ideal place to launch a
rocket from. The vehicle can take full benefit of the Earth's rotational
forces and thus save fuel--or carry heavier satellites. The Proton, for
instance, can put 4 tonnes into orbit when launched from the
equator--much more than if launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in

The environmental pollution created by a single rocket, in this case the
Russian Proton, is considerable. According to an environmental impact
assessment study (EIA) prepared by Sea Launch, a rocket burns 44.7
tonnes of liquid oxygen and 17 tonnes of kerosene below an altitude of 2
kilometers. At the same time, 4.5 tonnes of unburned fuel will fall in
to the sea, creating kerosene slicks several kilometers wide.

The launch site is close to a migration route used by thousands of birds
heading for Kiritimati Island, which is also home to turtles. SPREP is
also worried that human lives could be at risk as the area is a popular
fishing ground.

SPREP marine pollution adviser Steve Raaymakers said the EIA's
description of the marine environment of the launch site was "entirely
inadequate" because "significant inferences have been made from
extremely limited data."

SPREP has until May 22 to make comments on the SeaLaunch EIA which had
been submitted to the U.S. Federal Aviation Agency.

SeaLaunch officials pointed out that launching from the sea greatly
reduces the environmental impact on the land and that an alternative
launch site at Australia's Cape York could threaten crocodiles.
(SME, Copyright 1998, Peter C Klanowski)

English premier league soccer will be broadcast exclusively live in the
Middle East on Showtime and 1stNet when the new season starts in August
this year.

The two complementary digital satellite networks announced that they
have jointly signed a three year deal to show four matches each week
from the FA Carling Premier League. Showtime will broadcast matches with
English audio, while 1stNet will carry the Arabic soundtrack.

Peter Einstein, Showtime president and chief executive, said: "When the
new season starts in August this year football fans throughout the
Middle East will be able to watch games from the very best football
league in the world only on 1stNet and Showtime.

"This is a major coup for the two fastest growing digital satellite
pay-TV networks in the Middle East, and confirms our intent to continue
to develop both networks by providing subscribers with the very best in
programming from around the globe."

Sheikh Saleh Kamel, chairman of 1stNet and ART (Arab Radio &
Television), said: "This deal marks a significant step in the
development of the 1stNet and Showtime networks in the Middle East.
Football is the number one sport in the region and the English premier
league is recognised as the most competitive in the world."

1stNet and Showtime have acquired the exclusive regional broadcasting
rights from TWI and Canal Plus. The deal includes cable, satellite and
terrestrial transmissions. Both networks will broadcast one delayed
transmission fixture each Saturday evening, in addition to the three
live matches which both will show each week.

The package also includes exclusive rights to a weekly highlights show
of all FA Carling Premier League matches, in addition to a preview
programme of each weeks fixtures. Showtime will broadcast matches on its
TV Land channel, while 1stNet will show games on its dedicated Arabic
sports channel, ART2.      
(SME, source Showtime)

Tunisian pay-television Canal Horizons, a privately-owned subsidiary of
French Canal+, has cut its monthly subscription fee to 16 dinars (US$14)
from 26 dinars owing to growing competition.

Raouf Said, chairman of the channel, was quoted as saying the cut was
part of a plan to face increasing competition from conventional
satellite channels, from the Arabic-language digital bouquet Orbit, and
from Italy's Rai Uno which has resumed terrestrial re-broadcasts in

Canal Horizons so far has attracted 40,000 subscribers in Tunisia and
hopes for some 20,000 to 30,000 more by the end of the year. Not only as
a consequence of the price cut but also because of an improved
distribution: via satellite from a Eutelsat Hot Bird, and terrestrially
over a transmitter that covers the coastal area from Biserte to Mahdia,
some 250 kilometres from Tunis.

Canal Horizons officials expect the final kick from football [soccer]:
Canal Horizons will be the only Tunisian station that broadcasts all 64
World Cup matches with particular attention given to the Tunisian team.
(SME, Copyright 1998, Peter C Klanowski)

A Boeing Delta II expendable launch vehicle will lift five Iridium
telecommunications satellites into orbit Friday, May 15, from Vandenberg
Air Force Base, Calif., to complete the last deployment mission for the
66-satellite Iridium system.

The launch will be the ninth by Boeing in a series of missions for
Motorola, builder of the Iridium system satellites. Since May 1997,
Boeing Delta II rockets have carried 40 Iridium system satellites into

Delta rockets are credited with 15 successful launches during the past
12 months, placing 53 satellites into orbit. Nine of the 15 launches
were for the Iridium system.

It has been a relative cool, calm & collected week; beside the
activation of Egyptian Nilesat 101, not too much could be observed:

ASIASAT 1, 105.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/asia1.shtml
* Myanmar TV is expected to leave Asiasat 1 soon in favour of Thaicom 3.

ASIASAT 2, 100.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/asia2.shtml
* EM TV on 4.006 GHz, V is now encrypted in PowerVu.

THAICOM 3, 78.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/thai78.shtml
* Myanmar TV on transponder 6HG, 3.680 GHz, H, has prolonged its
broadcasting hours extensively. Now already from early morning, until
late evening on air, with a break around mid-day.

During off-air time comprehensive graphics, drawings with text material
in Burmese and English are displayed in order to explain the new
settings of satellite dishes for the change from Asiasat 1 to Thaicom 3.
The channel is obviously here to stay.

APSTAR 2R, 76.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/apstar2r.shtml
* Plus 21 promotional videos on 3.787 GHz, H, MPEG-2/clear, SR 6110, FEC
3/4, seem to have ceased. Has somebody seen the channel after Sunday,
May 10th, anywhere ?

PANAMSAT 4, 68.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/pas4.shtml
* Not only 11.521 GHz, H, also the other ART (1stNET) transponder at
11.649 GHz, H, is activated for occasional feeds, both for PAL and
MPEG-2 alternating  transmissions. PAL transmissions have TV audio on
6.60 MHz, and an empty carrier on 7.20 MHz.

ARABSAT 2B, 30.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/arab2b.shtml
* El Reshed TV has been observed already last week between 20:00 und
21:00 CAT on 4.099 GHz, L, PAL/clear. The transmissions have ceased, as
well as the, earlier, identical broadcasts from Eutelsat II-f1,
transponder 39, 11.658 GHz, V.

ASTRA 1G, 19.2 East, http://www.satcodx.com/astra1g.shtml
* A package from Astra 1F, 12.168 GHz, V has moved to 12.552 GHz, V,
MPEG-2/clear, SR 22000, FEC 5/6, with line-up: Sat 1, Astra Info 1,
Astra Info 2, Kabel 1, DSF and Astra Vision 1.
Refer the SATCO-DX chart for PIDs, as the package not yet became
receivable in the Levante with normal reception equipment.

EUTELSAT II-f3, 16 East, http://www.satcodx.com/e2f3.shtml
* Enex MPEG-2 feeds have moved from transponder 45 to transponder 40,
regular using SR 5632 and FEC 3/4, and following line-up:
	12.507 GHz, H,	Enex A feeds
	12.517 GHz, H,	Enex B feeds
	12.527 GHz, H,	Enex C feeds
	12.535 GHz, H, 	Enex D feeds

* Eros TV in D2-Mac has ceased on 11.575 GHz, V, now only on Eutelsat
II-f1, transponder 39, 11.658 GHz, V.

EUTELSAT II-f1, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/e2f1.shtml
* El Reshad TV on 11.658 GHz, V, has ceased, as well have the broadcasts
from Arabsat 2B, 4.099 GHz, L.

Extended transmissions of Eros TV have been announced to start May 16th
on 11.658 GHz, V. Sima-Yeh-Moghavemat announced on-screen today a change
of their broadcasting times on this transponder 39, from Saturday, May
16th, one hour from 15:45-16:45 CAT.

HOT BIRD 1, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb1.shtml
* Karayb Musyk from Guadeloupe has been testing for the second time on
the BVN transponder 4, 11.283 GHz, V, PAL/clear, Stereo audio 7.02:7.20
MHz, in French, Saturdays ca 19:00-19:50 CAT. Info can be retrieved from
URL: http://www.awg.com/

SME Comment: I have been under the impression that NBC-Europe on
Eutelsat II-f1, transponder 25, 10.992 GHz, V, would be transferred on
July 1st into the National Geographic Society Channel, with some inserts
of NBC news and CNBC Business News, ...and CNBC-Europe would be
remaining on Hot Bird 1 transponder 3, 11.262 GHz, H.

Now this seems not to be the case anymore: as on page #118 of "NBC Text"
viewers of CNBC Europe are requested to re-direct their dishes to Astra
1D, transponder 50, 10.729 GHz, V, as that will be the ONLY transponder
for CNBC-Europe soon.

This raises some questions: Which of of the 13 East NBC transponder is
staying on air ? Will the National Geographic Channel use the newer Hot
Bird 1 transponder 3, and transmissions on Eutelsat II-f1 will cease
completely ? ...and where is the new NBC Germany broadcasted from ?

My good guess is that NBC did not renew a lease for the upcoming Hot
Bird 5, which is re-utilising the frequency 10.992 GHz, V, from
transponder 124.

The result: In the Middle East we will have to re-direct our dishes as
well, and get CNBC from Panamsat 4, 3.785 GHz, H, but unfortunately this
is the ASIAN version, not of very much interest here. We can only hope
that somebody is wise enough and puts CNBC Europe on one of those great
digital platforms!

HOT BIRD 2, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb2.shtml
* On June 12th, Russian broadcaster NTV will start on transponder 61,
11.938 GHz, H, with the transmission of two channels in MPEG-2: NTV
International and NTV+ Nashi Kino, according to on-screen messages on
Express 2, 14 West.

SME Comment: Personally I expect that this package will be extended over
time, and all channels, after an introductional period, will be
encrypted, with the exeption possibly of NTV International, which could
remain in clear.

* The BT test package has left 12.092 GHz, H, now only receivable from
Hot Bird 3, transponder 74, 12.188 GHz, V.

* The Aagesta ES test card in PAL on 11.977 GHz, H, has ceased.

HOT BIRD 3, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb3.shtml
* The digital test package on transponder 74, 12.188 GHz, V, had been
re-directed to the steearable beam which was aimed to South Africa
during the Africa '98 Telecommunications Exhibition 4-9 May.
(SME, source Anonymous ! Thanks !)

* Transponder 74, 12.188 GHz, V, is switched back to the Pan-European
beam, an MPEG-2/clear test package with SR 27500 and FEC 2/3 contained
until today a copy of the previous package on Hot Bird 2 transponder 69.

This Friday afternoon it was amended as follows:

00C8{200}/00C9{201}	Quantum24 (audio not transmitted)
00D2{210}/00D3{211}	Fashion TV (audio low volume)
00DC{220}/00DD{221}	RAI Uno (audio low volume)
00E6{230}/019A{400}	TBC Inert (& Country Music Radio)

SME Comment: TVE Internacional, EuroNews/SuperShop, TV Polonia and RAI
Uno had already temporary left this package for almost two days this
week. This test package still gets not correctly loaded with a normal or
advanced search on a Mediamaster. You have still to enter the PIDs to
see and hear them.

* Abu Dhabi TV started in the FT Globecast bouquet on 12.380 GHz, V,
PIDs 0B6C{3024}/0B76{3034}. Radio Abu Dhabi is on APID 0DCD{3533} and
Imarat FM on APID 0DCE{3534}.

* In the same package a new channel was added showing colorbars and
named ORT in the channel listing, with PIDs 0B6D{3025}/0B77{3035}. It is
expected that Russian national broadcaster ORT will start here soon.

SME Comment: Great news! I had always the feeling that there was a lack
of Russian channels on the Hot Bird position. Now it seems we have soon
a total of three more !

* Polonia 1 has started at the side of VIVA Zwei with PIDs
006E{110}/006F{111} on the Antenna Hungaria digital platform  on
transponder 72, 12.149 GHz, V, MPEG-2/clear, PIDs 0096{150}/0097{151}.

SME Comment: It is generally expected that Duna TV, MTV 2 and TV 3
Budapest will soon start beside the above (test) channels.

* Polonia 1 on HRT/SLO transponder 80, 12.303 GHz, V, MPEG-2/clear, PIDs
00CD{205}/00CE{206}, was temporary duplicated to PIDs
00CF{207}/00D0{208}. Both transmssions have ceased in between however,
now only from transponder 72 receivable.

* TV Slovenija Infotext has started test broadcasts on 12.303 GHz, V,
MPEG-2/clear, PIDs 00CD{205}/00CE{206}. (Channel ID "SLO test")

HOT BIRD 4, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb4.shtml
* Concerto Radio is on 12.673 GHz, V, MPEG-2/clear, APID 00D4{212}.

SME Comment: I couldn't detect that signal, most probably it was changed
on Friday to "CANALE RADIO" with PIDs 00D2{210}/1FFF{8191}, whereby VPID
00D2{210} contains the signal of the Hot Bird Channel.

* Stream digital tests on transponder 100, 12.713 GHz, H, could be
observed on Thursday afternoon.

EUTELSAT II-f2, 10 East, http://www.satcodx.com/e2f2.shtml
* Transponder 49, 12.708 GHz, V, will carry in future not just MPEG-2
transmissions, there will be low bandwidth data carriers of all
(SME, source Anonymous)

INTELSAT 707, 1 West, http://www.satcodx.com/i707.shtml
* ITV of Tanzania is on 4.000 GHz, L, MPEG-2/clear, SR 4443, FEC 1/2,
South-East Zone beam. From the same transponder comes "Radio One FM".

NILESAT 101, 7 West, http://www.satcodx.com/nile101.shtml
* Egyptians new satellite was first observed on Thursday, May 14th,
17:30-18:00 CAT, with readings from the Holy Koran and a video of the
Nilesat launch.

11.900 GHz, V, MPEG-2/clear, SR 27500, FEC 3/4, and following line-up:

03E9{1001}/04B1{1201}	NVOD 1	Koran Recital & V108 launch video
03EA{1002}/04B2{1202}	NVOD 2	same
03EB{1003}/04B3{1203}	NVOD 3	same
03EC{1004}/04B4{1204}	NVOD 4	same
03ED{1005}/04B5{1205}	NVOD 5	same
03EE{1006}/04B6{1206}	NVOD 6	same
03EF{1007}/04B7{1207}	NVOD 7	no video/no audio

The satellite signal was clear, but initially not extremely powerful,
later very high signal levels could be received. SQ level on a
Mediamaster is 122. The last test carrier was seen around 22:00 CAT.

A test carrier on 11.900 GHz, V, was briefly seen Friday morning.
Further reports of new sightings of this satellite are very welcome to
my or the SATCO-DX mailbox, please with location and the dish size.

EXPRESS 2, 14 West, http://www.satcodx.com/e2.shtml
* RTP Africa on transponder 9U, 3.836 GHz, R, has changed its SR to 5565
(from 6000), all other MPEG-2 data remain the same.

INTELSAT 801, 31.5 West, http://www.satcodx.com/i801.shtml
* Occasional feeds and transmission tests can be observed from:
	10.966 GHz, V, PAL
	10.990 GHz, V, MPEG-2, SR 6110, FEC 3/4
	11.013 GHz, V, MPEG-2, SR 12498, FEC 3/4

SME Reception report:
10.966 GHz, V, in PAL/clear locks on noisy video and noisy audio with a
240 cm dish in Cairo. Quality not consumer recommendable.

The Ku spot beam is not targetting the Levante; reception in Greece,
Cyprus and Crete should however be easily achievable.

COLUMBIA 515, 37.5 West, http://www.satcodx.com/i515.shtml
ITN Washington feeds are on 3.810 GHz, L, NTSC, 6.20:6.80 MHz, East Zone

The following two observations cannot be received in our region, but
contain channels whereof one or more of your family members abroad could
be definately interested in. They are also featured in the "Arabic
Channels for the World" pages, as part of the SAT-MidEast website.

GE 2, 85 West,  http://www.satcodx.com/ge2.shtml
Abu Dhabi TV has started today on transponder 11, 3.920 GHz, V,
NTSC/clear, with audio on 6.20 and 6.80 MHz. No radio channels

Comment: According to an Abu Dhabi newspaper, Abu Dhabi TV will leave GE
2 today, 15 May and switch to Telstar 5 in MPEG-2.
Reports on changes are welcome to my or the SATCO-DX mailbox.

TELSTAR 5, 97 West, http://www.satcodx.com/t5.shtml
EABC has a package of Egyptian channels which can be received using the
AlphaStar dish and receiver from 11.874 GHz, H, MPEG-2, SR 23000, FEC
2/3, line-up: ESC 1, ESC 2 and Nile TV Int.

Comment: It seems that Nile TV is in clear, no info about ESC 1 and ESC
2. ESC, ESC2 and NileTV are scheduled to move to Galaxy 3R and be part
of DirecTV's lineup before the end of the summer.
Reports on changes are welcome to my or the SATCO-DX mailbox.

SAT-MIDEAST INTERN, http://www.sat-net.com/sat-mideast/
The SAT-MidEast website has survived a complete make-over, which took me
almost a week of code writing and re-formatting.(Yes, all my HTML code
is typed into a  bare-bones text editor, no fancy, overhead loaden
compiler used.)

Visitors will find behind an almost unchanged entry page, some complete
new established pages, s.a. the SATELLITES page: combining much of the
information, previous available in one single lay-out, unfortunately
enlarging this particular page, but therefore minimizing the nescessary
jumps to related pages and therefore increasing performance overall. 

All Satellite Transponder Histories (starting 1996) have been
reformatted, now without thrills and frills, just good readable
information, as I think archive pages should be. They are accesible on a
year-by-year basis.

In other pages the used 'decorative' items have been reduced or
replaced, code has been optimized, all for the sake of faster access,
without changing the overall look and feel of the site.

The SAT-MidEast weekly news bulletins are still every week available on
the SAT-MidEast website at sat-net.com. Fully HTML formatted; much more
pleasing to the human eye. Just take a look and communicate your opinion
too your associates !

Best regards,

Henk C. Room / Cairo - Egypt
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