Sat-na February 9, 1997
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 23:20:22 -0500
From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Feb 11 23: 22:53 1997
The satellite is an HS 601 body-stabilized model built for Japan
Satellite Systems, Inc., of Tokyo by Hughes Space and Communications
Company of Los Angeles. The window for launch aboard an Atlas IIAS
booster is from 7:37 to 9:01 p.m. Feb. 15 EST (4:37 p.m.
Feb. 15 PST, 9:37 a.m. Feb. 16 in Tokyo, 00:37 Feb. 16 GMT).
Launch will be from Cape Canaveral Air Station.
JCSAT-4 will ultimately be positioned at 124 degrees East
longitude, and like previous JCSAT spacecraft will relay
voice, data and television signals to Japan. In addition,
like its predecessor, JCSAT-3, the new satellite has beams
for coverage west to India, south to Australia and
New Zealand, and east to Hawaii.
JCSAT-4 carries four octagonal communications antennas
and two wings with four solar panels each that together
provide more than 5,000 watts of power. The payload consists
of 12 active C-band transponders and 28 active Ku-band
transponders, some of which can be combined to provide
The launch will be carried live on Galaxy IX, transponder 6, in C-band.
ExpressVu's Line-Up To Include 100 Channels
Canadian television viewers will be able to click their
way through as many as 100 channels by summer according to
ExpressVu, Canada's first licensed DTH television service.
ExpressVu will now offer up to 100 television and music
channels in eastern Canada and 85 across western Canada. The
additional channels were made possible after ExpressVu
acquired from Canadian broadcasters several additional
satellite beams on the Anik E-2 satellite. With a total of
14 beams on the Anik E-2, ExpressVu has now subleased the
largest block of satellite space available for Canadian DTH
HGTV On NBC Europe
HGTV and NBC Europe have entered into an alliance that
will bring a selection of HGTV's programming to more than 50
million homes and 350,000 hotel rooms throughout Europe.
The NBC Europe channel will broadcast a branded block
of HGTV programming which will air every weekday from 4:00 -
5:00 p.m. (CET). HGTV programs scheduled to air include
"Awesome Interiors," "Dream Builders," "Dream House,"
"Gardening by the Yard," "The Good Life," "Interiors by
Design," "Penelope Hobhouse: The Art & Practice of
Gardening," "Star Gardens," "Spencer Cristian's Wine Cellar"
and "Company of Animals."
Pace signs licence
Pace Micro Technology plc, has signed a licence with
General Instrument Corporation, of the U.S., to use its
MPEG2 digital television system, incorporating its
DigiCipher II conditional access system.
The licence enables Pace to pursue new business
opportunities in the United States and elsewhere,
particularly for cable applications, for the supply of
digital Integrated Receiver Decoders.
There are currently over 60 million subscribers to
analogue cable services in the United States. The success
of digital direct to home satellite operations, including
broadcasters like PrimeStar and DirecTV, means that cable
operators are committed to digital deployment.
Pace has been holding exploratory discussions with a
number of U.S. cable operators and by signing a licence with
General Instrument, can now move these discussions forward
and start development of digital products incorporating the
DigiCipher II conditional access system. It is anticipated
that product incorporating DigiCipher II will be available
towards the end of the 1997 calendar year and, subject to
orders, will be rolled out early in 1998. The licence
agreement with General Instrument represents the first
element of an increasing focus by Pace on the North American
The agreement with General Instrument means that Pace
is now licensed for each of the world's four leading
conditional access systems in various different countries,
the others in addition to DigiCipher being News Digital,
Irdeto and SECA. The News Digital and Irdeto conditional
access systems are already incorporated into delivered
products, while the SECA conditional access system, which
was licensed to Pace in July, will be incorporated in an
Integrated Receiver Decoder for the French broadcaster
Canal+ in a contract which was announced in November.
Channel Earth to Launch on DirecTv
The first television channel devoted exclusively to
serving farmers, ranchers and other rural residents will
begin airing programming this March from studio production
facilities in Chicago. The channel will air live reports
from throughout the country, including regional reports and
regular news updates from Capitol Hill. Exclusive to
DIRECTV, subscribers will be able to view the new
programming on Channel 280. Channel Earth, will broadcast
dawn-to-dusk programming every Monday through Friday, and
morning-to-midday reports on Saturdays.
PanAmSat Delivers Fox Kids Channel
PanAmSat Corporation is transmitting a second Fox
television channel to cable operators and television viewers
in Latin America. Fox Kids Network Worldwide has joined
Canal Fox on PanAmSat's PAS-3 Atlantic Ocean Region
satellite, giving Fox Kids its first access to Latin
America's 80+ million television households. PanAmSat has
transmitted Canal Fox into Latin America since 1993.
The new PAS-3 service consists of one digital channel
on the satellite's C-band Pan-American beam, which covers
virtually all of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Fox
Kids signal is being transmitted to PAS-3 from PanAmSat's
Global Operations Centre in Atlanta, Ga. The channel joins
a PAS-3 programmer line-up that includes, along with Canal
Fox, the BBC, CCTV, Discovery, ESPN, HBO, Viacom and The
The Fox Kids service for Latin America will consist of
popular Fox programming offered in Spanish, English and
Portuguese. In the United States, Fox Kids Network is the
number-one children's programming service, amassing 16
consecutive ratings sweeps victories over three years. The
Network's 19 hours of weekly (Monday-Saturday) programming
is seen by 30 million kids and teens each month.
KVH Introduces Marine Satellite TV Antenna
KVH Industries, Inc., has introduced TracVision II, the
smallest, fully stabilised marine satellite TV antenna that
works while a vessel is under way.
TracVision II, a compact stabilised antenna that
receives up to 200 channels of DIRECTV and USSB programming,
measures about 21 inches high and 19.25 inches in diameter.
The unit weighs about 30 pounds and retails for $5,495.
TracVision II is specifically engineered for the marine
environment. All components are corrosion proof and
weatherised, but most important, the antenna is fully
stabilised, which enables boaters to reliably receive the
optimum reception, even in rough seas.
The TracVision stays aligned with the satellite via
internal heading and gyro sensors. These sensors guide a
robotics pedestal that compensates for the boat's pitch,
roll and yaw, providing boaters with exceptionally clear TV
reception and sound.
The FCC has granted waivers to Columbia Communications
Corporation, permitting construction of two new
The application for construction, launch and operations
of two satellites at 47 degrees West Latitude and 172
degrees East Latitude had been filed in 1995. While further
regulatory processing is required, the Commission determined
that the grant of these waivers are in the public interest,
to ensure that proposed services to be provided by the new
satellites will be available for public use at the earliest
The COLUMBIA POR spacecraft at 172 degrees East
Latitude will operate in conventional and extended C-Band,
as well as Ku-Band frequencies. The COLUMBIA AOR spacecraft
at 47 degrees West Latitude will operate in conventional and
extended C-Band frequencies. There is a long pending
application before the FCC for a Ku-Band Satellite for the
Atlantic Ocean Region.
British Sky Broadcasting Interim Results
British Sky Broadcasting Group plc announced results
for the six months ended December 31, 1996.
- Profit before tax up 26% to 134 million pounds ($227
- Record subscriber growth of 434,000 in final quarter of
- Total subscribers in UK and Eire now exceed six million
- Earnings per share up 27% to 7.1p (12.1 ); earnings per
ADR were 72.6 (b)
- Interim dividend increased 10% to 2.75p (4.67 ) per
ordinary share or 28.02 per ADR
There are now over six million Sky subscribers, 5.57
million in the UK and 502,000 in Eire. The total number of
paying subscribers increased by 580,000 in the interim
period, and by 434,000 in the three months to December 1996.
This quarterly net increase was 23% higher than that
recorded last year.
Dish sales followed a seasonal pattern established over
several years, with a large increase in demand in the
quarter before Christmas, driven by a highly successful
retail promotion where qualifying customers who signed up
for a one year subscription were given a free dish and
installation. As well as the 147,000 net growth in DTH
subscribers, there were a further 43,000 subscribers who
took up the promotion and were installed after the period
end. The total cost of the promotion for these new
subscribers will be 20 million pounds and will be amortised
over twelve months.
There are now 3,446,000 DTH subscribers of which over
97% take at least one premium channel. The level of
cancellations (`churn') also fell, to an annualised rate of
9.4% down from 10.0% in the same period last year.
On January 31, 1997 British Digital Broadcasting, a
joint company formed by Carlton Communications, Granada
Group and British Sky Broadcasting Group, announced that it
had applied to operate three digital terrestrial television
licenses. If awarded the licences, the shareholders have
agreed to equally meet a peak funding requirement of up to
pounds 300 million ($509 million)with a margin for
contingencies. The new company is expected to be profitable
within five years.
Keystone Communications renews agreement
Keystone Communications Corp., has renewed a three-
year contract with the Motor Racing Network (MRN) to
provide radio transmission services.
Under the agreement, Keystone will provide
transportable uplink services for the backhaul of audio from
the Nascar Busch Series and Nascar Winston Cup Series stock
car events, and the Nascar Craftsman Truck Series race
Keystone's Special Projects department is responsible
for co-ordinating all of the logistics associated with the
staff, equipment and transmission for the 81 races
originating from 47 raceways throughout the United States.
ABC/Keystone Ventures, Keystone's exclusive partnership with
ABC Radio Networks, will provide for distribution of the
races, as well as distribution of Motor Racing Networks' 10
other race-related programs to the network's 600 affiliates
via the DATS System on Satcom C5.
Class Is In Session
PAS-4 the Indian Ocean Region satellite is
transmitting televised educational programming as part of a
satellite-based distance learning project in South Africa.
The service, broadcast over three digital channels on
PAS-4, is being conducted in co-operation with the
Integrated Open Learning Alliance (IOLA). The Alliance was
created by a consortium of South Africa-based companies
(Africa Growth Network (AGN), ORT-STEP and Eskom) for the
purpose of utilising technology in the education of large
segments of the South African population.
The programming is transmitted to PAS-4 from an uplink
facility outside of Johannesburg for distribution via the
satellite's high-power Ku-band Southern Africa beam, which
allows for reception throughout South Africa using small, 90-
centimetre antennas. The first phase of IOLA's pilot
distance learning project, completed in November 1996,
broadcast 120 hours of standard six-level courses (roughly
the equivalent of the first year of high school in the
United States) to locations in Cape Town, Johannesburg and
Pretoria. Following the success of that first phase, IOLA's
educational programming is now available via PAS-4 on an
ongoing basis in locations throughout South Africa.
Improved safety for seafarers
A faster, more reliable and accurate satellite distress
alerting system for sailors has been inaugurated. Use of the
system_a joint development of the German Government, the
European Space Agency, Nortel-Dasa, Siemens, Nokia, MBB and
Inmarsat_will be free of charge to customers. The new system
covers virtually all of the world's ocean areas and is fully
compliant with the Global Maritime Distress and Safety
Inmarsat-E combines the position determination of the
Global Positioning System (GPS) with the geostationary
satellite technology of the Inmarsat communications system,
both of which have proved their reliability over many years
of use by mariners and others. The use of geostationary
satellites greatly increases the speed at which a distress
alert can be delivered, as no time is lost waiting for a
satellite to appear over the horizon.
The system features both float-free buoy type EPIRBs
(emergency position indicating radio beacons) for use on
board larger vessels and hand-portable versions for yachts,
life-boats and similar craft.
Both types of terminal include a built-in GPS receiver
so that the position of the unit is constantly updated to an
accuracy of about 200 metres. This compares with an accuracy
of about five kilometres for the best of the current
emergency alerting systems. The new EPIRBs rely on an
Inmarsat satellite communications transmitter to send the
coded distress alert to all accessible Inmarsat satellites.
Inmarsat transmitters use the L-band range of
frequencies specifically allocated for search and rescue
(SAR) maritime communications because they are virtually
unaffected by adverse meteorological conditions and
interference from other L-band spectrum users.
Milstar prime contractor Lockheed Martin has received
the first medium data rate (MDR) payload for the next block
of upgraded Milstar communications satellites, scheduled to
begin launching aboard Titan IV-Centaur vehicles in 1999.
Delivery of the payload, built by Hughes Aircraft
Company, marks a turning point for the program and
represents a transition to the new Block II configuration,
which will offer a variety of enhanced communications
features for the three U.S. military services. These include
added security through the use of specially designed
antennas and faster data-rate transmissions for all users.
The two Milstar satellites currently on orbit are Block
I designs that feature a low data rate (LDR) payload
supplied by TRW Space and Electronics. The LDR payload
transmits secure voice, data and fax information at 75 bps
to 2400 bps over a 44 GHz Extremely High Frequency uplink
and 20 GHz Super High Frequency downlink. This data rate,
coupled with advanced signal processing algorithms, ensures
high security and a low probability of interception and
detection by unauthorised or hostile forces.
The new Block II spacecraft will incorporate both the
LDR and MDR payloads to extend the data-rate
transmit/receive capability to 1.544 Mbps_many times faster
than Block I communications. Because MDR transmissions
require more bandwidth, however, less room is available to
build jamming immunity into the signal, so the payload
carries two specially designed nulling antennas that can
pinpoint a jammer's direction and temporarily block, or
null, that signals from that direction. The antenna then
permits jam-free operations in other directions without loss
of communications. The nulling antennas can continuously
provide communications in this fashion to assure security in
areas where enemy jammers are operating.
Motorola Satellite Communications, Inc. has filed an
application with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission
to modify its license for the IRIDIUM system to include
authority for the provision of Aeronautical Mobile Satellite
(Route) Services AMSS over the IRIDIUM system.
AMSS services are voice and data services which support
flight safety communications between the cockpit and the air
traffic authorities. Additionally, the IRIDIUM system will
provide a full complement of passenger services including
incoming and outgoing voice, data and facsimile services.
TRW receives first European patent
TRW Inc.'s drive to gain broad international patent
protection for its Odyssey satellite-based global cellular
phone system notched a major milestone this week with the
European Patent Office's issuance of its first patent for
the Odyssey system design.
The patent will be effective in the United Kingdom,
France, Germany and Italy through the year 2012.
The claims of the European patent (No. EP 0 575 678 B1)
cover a satellite-based cellular telecommunications system
having satellites in a medium-earth orbit. The system
connects a mobile cellular phone with another phone through
one of the satellites and a gateway station, and assigns a
call originating from within a service region to one of the
satellites in accordance with predetermined criteria. TRW
filed for the patent in September 1992.
TRW and Teleglobe Inc., of Canada, are founding
shareholders in Odyssey Telecommunications International
Inc., which will develop the satellite-based system and
provide service worldwide. TRW will build the system, which
will consist of 12 satellites in medium-earth orbit and
seven earth stations linked by a wide-area network.
Next Atlas Launch
Atlas IIAS/JCSat-4 --Feb. 16, 1997
Next Ariane Launch
Ariane 4/Intelsat 801 --Feb. 25, 1997
-- Pepsi-Cola Company is offering irresistible deal to PGA
golf facilities across America. The beverage giant is
offering a free DISH Network 18-inch satellite dish and one
free year of The Golf Channel to the first 1,000 PGA golf
facilities signing up to convert to Pepsi products.
-- General Instrument Corp reports that COSMOS
Communications International Inc of Taiwan is now
broadcasting using the company's multichannel DigiCipher
II/MPEG 2 video compression system, provided under a US$1m
-- The Mabuhay Philippine Satellite Corporation reports
that Agila II is scheduled for launch next month using a
Long March rocket. The Agila II, is a FS 13000 satellite
with C-and Ku-band transponders. The C-band transponders
will cover the Philippines, Eastern China, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Indo-China, Japan, Korea, India, Bangladesh, and
Hawaii. The Ku-band transponders are spot beamed to the
Philippines, coastal China, Taiwan and northern Vietnam.
-- Citizens Telecom and AlphaStar have reached an
agreement under which Citizens will offer AlphaStar's
digital direct-to-home satellite television service to its
subscribers in 13 states. In addition to its own customers,
the diversified communications provider can offer
AlphaStar's service through all subsidiaries and affiliates
of its parent company, Citizens Utilities.
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