SAT-MidEast 98.09.04

A news release from Cairo, Egypt, located at 31.15 East - 30.3 North,
- 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
- 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.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hall/2878
Send relevant info's, interesting news, and creative comments to :

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Proton launches Astra 2A
The ASTRA 2A satellite of Luxembourg based Société Européenne des Satellites
(SES) was successfully launched with a Russian Proton D-1-e rocket from the
Cosmodrome of Baikonur (Kazakhstan) in the early morning hours of August 30th,
1998m at 02.31 am CET. 

ASTRA 2A is the eighth SES satellite in the ASTRA series and the first to be
permanently located at the orbital position of 28.2 degrees East.

The spacecraft was built by Hughes Space and Communications of El Segundo
(California). ASTRA 2A is an HS 601 HP type spacecraft (HP = High Power),
carrying up to 32 active transponders (for the first five years, 28
thereafter) with a TWTA (Traveling Wave Tube Amplifier) output power of 98.5

The satellite is equipped with XIPS (Xenon Ion Propulsion System) for in-orbit
station keeping maneuvers as well as conventional bi-propellant thrusters.
Gallium arsenide solar cells provide ASTRA 2A with 7 kilowatts of electrical
power. The satellite also has an advanced antenna design, using two large
lightweight reflectors featuring Hughes' contoured surface technology. The
spacecraft weighed 3.635 kilograms at launch and is designed for 15 years of

The launch services for ASTRA 2A onboard Proton were provided by International
Launch Services (ILS), the joint venture between Lockheed-Martin of the United
States, and Khrunichev and RSC Energia of Russia.

The first three stages of the Proton D-1-e launch vehicle carried ASTRA 2A
into a support orbit at a perigee altitude of 179 kilometers and an apogee
altitude of 215 kilometers with an inclination of 51.6 degrees, which the
satellite reached approximately ten minutes after lift-off from the Cosmodrome
of Baikonur.

One hour and fourteen minutes after lift-off the fourth stage of the Proton
launcher (Block DM) was ignited for the first time to raise the apogee
altitude to 36.000 kilometers.

The fourth stage was fired for the second time six hours and twenty minutes
after lift-off to inject the space head into transfer orbit. The perigee
altitude was raised to 7.900 km. At the same time the inclination of the orbit
was reduced from 51.6 degrees to 15.6 degrees.

Separation of the ASTRA 2A satellite from the fourth stage of the Proton
rocket took place 20 minutes after the second ignition. The satellite was
first acquired by a tracking station in Australia.

Within the last few days, four activation of ASTRA 2A's apogee motor have
propelled the satellite into geostationary orbit. The on-board apogee motor
has been activated during the 4th, 6th, 8th and the 10th revolution around the
earth. The satellite's solar panels and its communications antennas will been
deployed approximately 11 days into the mission.

After thorough testing of all the on-board systems, ASTRA 2A will be
positioned at the orbital location of 28.2 East and all services currently
provided by ASTRA 1D at this orbital position will be switched to the new
spacecraft. The satellite will start commercial service in approximately five

Signed SES customers for digital transponder capacity at 28.2 East include:
BSkyB, BBC, Flextech, Discovery, UKTV, Turner Broadcasting and Viacom.
(SME, source: SES PR)

VIVA and VIVA 2 sign on for HOT BIRD 5
German music channels VIVA and VIVA 2 signed last week long-term leases for
transponder space on the to be launched Eutelsat Hot Bird 5.
Transmissions will be analog and in clear. It has to be assumed that the
present choice of beam will not be changed, and the channels stay on the super
beam, unfortunately. We can still hope...
(SME, source: Eutelsat PR)

National Geographic Channel (NGC) announced on 25 Augusts officially  that a
separated digital signal for Dutch and Flemish cable networks will be
established, named "NGC Nederland".

The back haul for this signal comes from Sirius 2, where the National
Geographic Channel already transmits since 19 Augusts on 12.303 H,
MPEG-2/clear, using the Pan European beam.

>From 18 September - when NGC will cease on Eutelsat II-f1, 10,987 V - the
signal from Sirius 2 will be transformed. There will be Dutch undertitling,
Dutch & Flemish adverts become a possibility and Dutch language promotional
broadcasts will be taken into the channel line-up.
Programming content will be streamlined for the TV habits of new target group
of viewers.

In the time from 06:00-12:00 CET still the CNBC will be broadcast. Earlier
plans to broadcast this back haul from Astra 2a, have been abandoned. All
transmissions for CNBC and NGC will be encrypted.

NGC is owned for 50 percent by BSkyB, indirect for 25 percent by NGC and the
remaining 25 percent are held by NBC.
(SME, source: DUTCHMEDIA, D.de Jong)

LAUNCH INFORMATION, http://www.satcodx.com/launches.shtml
* The latest scheduled Arianespace launch dates and flight numbers:
	980915 - V110:	Panamsat 7
	981005 - V111:	Sirius 3 & Eutelsat W2
	981015 ? V112:	Ariane 503
	981030 - V113:	Afristar
	9811   - V114: 	SatMex 5
	9812   - V115:	PAS 6B
	9901   - V116:	Telkom 1 & AsiaStar

SME Comment: Please note that the schedule shows four important launches for
our region in the next two months. It maybe not your choice of satellites, but
believe me, there is a lot at stake this time.

ST 1, 85-87 East, http://satcodx.com/st1.shtml
* The recently launched ST 1 seems to be geostationary around 85-87 East, or
slowly moving east to its final location at 88 East.

All reports please forward to my or the SATCO DX mailbox. The satellite's
C-Band beam should be good receivable in the Gulf Area.

LUCH 2, 77 East:  http://satcodx.com/luch2.shtml
* Occasional feeds on 11,005 R, PAL, Audio at 7,00 MHz, first observed during
the Astra 2A launch with Proton, with a long, more than 6 hours, feed.

Thursday evening from 22:30 CET and onwards, there has been a very strong feed
with taped launch related feeds.

Luch 2 is a Russian satellite, launched on 11 October 1995, max. inclination:
0.9 degrees. The Ku-beam is probably focussed on western Russia. In Cairo only
very weak signals could be noted.
Further reception reports are very welcome to mine or the SATCO DX mailbox!

THAICOM 3, 78.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/thai78.shtml
* A new test card appeared on SID 3, PIDs 514/670/8190 (channel 3)

All writing appears in Thai. The description of the card sounds like this:
blue sky, some clouds, to the right a large waterfall, above flying geese, to
the left inserted a map of Thailand, below a golden Buddha statue.
The center is filled with a program schedule from 14:00-14:57 in an unknown
time zone, for an unknown day.

* Maharishi Veda Vision on SID 2 is now on-air 24 hours a day.

APSTAR 2R, 76.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/apstar2r.shtml
* The Kermit Channels have started on 3,720 H, MPEG-2/clear, PIDs 1360/1320
and 1460/1420. It's expected that these channels will be encrypted again soon.

* The Disney Channel Middle East on 3,880 H, MPEG-2 is now in clear and will
be in clear until 6 September due to a promotional weekend: "Party On".

PANAMSAT 4, 68.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/pas4.shtml
* Maharishi Veda Vision on 3,905 V PAL/clear is now on-air 24 hours a day.

* TFC - The Filipino Channel on 3,743 H (MPEG-2) is now encrypted.

GORIZONT 31, 40.5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/g31.shtml
* MART seems to have left 3,675 R, it previous shared air-time with RTR.

ARABSAT 2A, 26 East, http://www.satcodx.com/arab2a.shtml
* TFC - The Filipino Channel on 12,536 H (MPEG-2) is now encrypted.

ASTRA 1G, 19.2 East, http://www.satcodx.com/astra1g.shtml
* Canal + transponder 80, 12,012 V, is finally confirmed to be on Astra 1F.

EUTELSAT II-f3, 16 East, http://www.satcodx.com/e2f3.shtml
* Formula One feeds in MPEG-2 for RTL from the Spa, Francorchamps have been
observed on 11,662 H and 11,688 H, both with a SR 10000, FEC 3/4.
(SME, source: A. Bastian)

* TMC returned to 11,024 H in MPEG-2.

* TBC - The Bible Channel has started on 11,575 V, PAL/clear, with audio on
6,60/7,20 MHz, every Thursday from 16:30-17:30 CET.

EUTELSAT II-f1, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/e2f1.shtml
* German music channel Onyx will cease analogue on Eutelsat II-f1, transponder
22a on October 1st.
(SME, source: Eutelsat)

HOT BIRD 1, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb1.shtml
* Canal 24 Horas is on 11,205 H, MPEG-2/clear, SR 4000, FEC 3/4, NID 7000, TID
9, PIDs 4130/4131.

SME Comment: Reception is weak in the levant, due to the low saturated signal.

* Occasional TVP feeds on 11,457 H, MPEG-2/clear, SR 6111, FEC 3/4, PIDs

HOT BIRD 2, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb2.shtml
* Fashion TV Hommes has left 11,766 V, and was temporary replaced by a test

* RAI Venice has a special transmission on 11,766 V, PAL/clear, due to the
Cinema Festival in Venice from 2-12 September.

* Italian public broadcaster RAI has decided that two of its four thematic
digital satellite channels will become pay services. The arts and culture
channel RaiSat 1 and the children's RaiSat 2 will form the basis of the new
digital pay package. RaiSat 3 Educational will remain clear for the time

It is thought that the future pay TV package that will launch this month, on
11,766 V, will include 10 or more channels. One of the new channels will be a
sports service, covering minor sports not included on the RAI 1-3 terrestrial
(SME, source: MediaScan, G.Wood)

* Vacaciones TV promo has started on 12,092 H, MPEG-2/clear, SR 27500, FEC
3/4, NID 4660, TID 18193, SID 1, PIDs 4112/4113.

SME Comment: In the first days of transmission the signal could neither be
resolved in the Levant nor Gulf Area, despite being on the wide beam.
The saturation of the transponder was kept low for unknown reasons. From
Thursday evening widespread reception is possible. The channel transmits in
several common European languages.

HOT BIRD 3, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb3.shtml
* "TV 24",  a local terrestrial channel from Zurich, Switzerland will start on
21 September with test transmissions on 12,380 V, MPEG-2/clear, PIDs
3023/3033, SID 3003. 
Presently a test card is displayed. The official start date is 05/10/98.
(SME, source: N.Schlammer)

* Satisfaction Channel TV has started testing on 12,303 V, MPEG-2/Viaccess,
PIDs 205/206. Promos in clear are shown from 23:30-24:00 CET.

HOT BIRD 4, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/hb4.shtml
* Mysik Karayb test has replaced the Eutelsat promo on 10,719 V, MPEG-2/clear,
PIDs 5633/5634, SID 7852.

* Nine Magic Movie PPV channels for the Italian provider Stream have started
on 12,713 V, MPEG-2/IRDETO, widebeam. 

* AB Cartoons on 12,692 H, MPEG-2/Viaccess has changed it's name to Mangas.

* Digi promo has temporary left 10,892 H, and is replaced by a D+ info card.

HOT BIRD 5, 13 East, http://www.satcodx.com/launches.shtml
* RTL will start an uncoded digital package on Hot Bird 5 in November,
including RTL, RTL 2, and Vox.
(SME source: MediaScan G.Wood)

* German music channels VIVA and VIVA 2 signed last week long term leases for
transponder space on the to be launched Eutelsat Hot Bird 5.
Transmissions will be analog and in clear. It has to be assumed that the
choice of beam will not be changed, and the channels stay on the superbeam,
unfortunately. We're allowed for a little hope...
(SME, source: Eutelsat PR)

EUTELSAT II-f2, 10 East, http://www.satcodx.com/e2f2.shtml
Bloomberg TV UK has started on 11,575 V, MPEG-2/PowerVu(encr), PIDs 1560/1520.
For unclear reasons this transmission is encrypted, all other versions in the
package are clear.

EUTELSAT II-f4-M, 7 East, http://www.satcodx.com/e2f4.shtml
* At various times are on the PAL transponder 22L, 22U, 27L, and 27U still
transmissions using the almost abandoned SiS method.

SIRIUS 2, 5 East, http://www.satcodx.com/sirius.shtml
* A Teracom test card was temporary seen on 12,456 H, PAL.

* TeleSport on 12,352 H is now encrypted in Conax again.

INTELSAT 707, 1 West, http://www.satcodx.com/i707.shtml
It has been announced on Egyptian local Television that the ERTU package on
4.135 L would change Transponder and frequency.
The ERTU digital package on 4.135 L is possibly still there, I have however
been unable to receive the package at all the last week.

Anybody aware about the new transmission data ? Please mail me !

INTELSAT 803, 21.5 West, http://www.satcodx.com/i803.shtml
* TV 5 Afrique has started on 3,924 R, PAL/clear, East Hemi beam,
in duplicate of transmissions on 4,016 R.

SME Comment: Quality of reception in Cairo has slightly improved, from good to
very good. It sad that so few broadcaster use this excellent satellite for

* Formula One feeds for ITV could be seen on 11, 625 V, MPEG-2/clear, SR 6111,
FEC 3/4.
The analogue feeds could be seen as regular on 11,018 V, PAL, with audio on
6.60 MHz.

TELSTAR 5, 97 West, http://satcodx.com/t5.shtml
* Abu Dhabi TV has started on 12,184 H, MPEG-2/clear.
(not receivable in the Levant or Middle East, just for the family abroad)

SAT-MIDEAST INTERN, http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hall/2878
FairTrade the organizers of the yearly Cairo Telecomp just informed us that
this exhibition is postponed from December to January 26-29, 1999.

A reason was not given, there was however a slight timing difficulty with the
Cable & Satellite Asia exhibition.
(SME, source: TSI)

SME Comment: Europe's premier satellite magazine TELE-satellite International
will be one of the exhibitors on this exhibition, which in previous years
proofed to have a big impact on the regional satellite market.

* As everybody at the time is so very busy to get those NIDs, TIDs & SIDs
together for Christian Lyngemark's SATCO DX, please take some time and watch
those figures! There are very remarkable examples at times...

NID = 0 is reserved and should not be used at all by anyone
NID = 1 is reserved by the SES (always the first)
NID = 318 is reserved by Eutelsat (318 in hex: "13E" )

(there is of-course a much longer list...)

Weird Facts:
Go to the Skyplex transponder 110, 10.719 V, you'll find 670 or "29E" as NID
Go to the Eutelsat Test transponder 101, 12.731 H, you see 1, meaning the
"SES" entered as operator ! 
(Soon Eutelsat will rent space on Astra 2B ;-))

Now you tell me...Are there more of those hidden non features ?
Find them and you win a year free subscription to the SAT-Mideast weekly!

Best regards,

Henk C. Room / Cairo - Egypt / ICQ: 1747 2291
- Middle East satellite information for analogue and digital TV:

	SAT-MidEast: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hall/2878
- SAT-MidEast mailing list, weekly free-of-charge to your mailbox 
- for easy subscription send an empty e-mail to:

- For comprehensive broadcast satellite transponder information 

	SAT-MidEast recommends: SATCO DX: http://www.satcodx.com/
Best regards,

Henk C. Room / Cairo - Egypt / ICQ: 1747 2291
- Middle East satellite information for analogue and digital TV:

	SAT-MidEast: http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hall/2878
- SAT-MidEast mailing list, weekly free-of-charge to your mailbox 
- for easy subscription send an empty e-mail to:

- For comprehensive broadcast satellite transponder information 

	SAT-MidEast recommends: SATCO DX: http://www.satcodx.com/

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