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Sat-Na Oct 27 1997




Sat-na
October, 27
1997

Lockheed Martin Newest Defence Satellite
Loral-Built APSTAR-IIR Successfully Launched
PanAmSat Unveils PAS-5 Programmer Lineup
Loral/Autrey Joint Venture Wins Auction for Mexican Satellite Operations
Discovery Channel goes Pan-European
Iridium Says Second Satellite Malfunctions
TEAMSAT, a "passenger" for ARIANE 502
Hughes Under Contract for Russian TV Satellite
Global Signals Now All Digital through CANCOM
DiviCom Private  Network
Sci-Fi Channel blasts Off on Canal Digital
In Brief

Lockheed Martin Newest Defence Satellite 
----------------------------------------
The latest Defence Satellite Communications System (DSCS) III spacecraft
produced by Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space was launched successfully from
Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL.
The satellite was launched on an Atlas IIA booster. DSCS III provides the
backbone of the U.S. military's global satellite communications
capabilities.
DSCS was used throughout Desert Storm and serves as a primary
communications link for U.S. forces in Bosnia.  These spacecraft provide
global coverage to all the U.S. military services; U.S. unified commands
and the national command authority.  They offer secure voice and high-data
rate communications, antijam capabilities and features for enhanced
survivability.
 
The DSCS III program began in 1976 and the first spacecraft was launched in
1982.  Fourteen DSCS III satellites have been built.  This launch increases
the number of active DSCS III spacecraft in the constellation to 10.  The
satellites in the DSCS constellation are in a geosynchronous orbit
providing tactical military communications to troops in the field as well
as strategic communications for commanders and Pentagon officials. Phase
III satellites incorporate multiple-beam antennas and other enhancements
for more flexible coverage than previous generations.  

Loral-Built APSTAR-IIR Successfully Launched
--------------------------------------------

APSTAR-IIR, the first high-powered telecommunications satellite built by
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) for APT Satellite Company, Ltd., was
successfully launched in orbit October 17 at 3:13 a.m. local time from
Sichuan Province, China.  
The APSTAR-IIR satellite was built by SS/L in Palo Alto, Calif., and
launched aboard a Long March 3B rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch
Center.

The APSTAR satellite has 10 kilowatts of total on-board power, making it
one of the most powerful telecommunications satellites in service for Asia.
 The high-powered spacecraft will allow APT Satellite to offer voice, video
and data services to the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to Europe, Russia,
the Middle East, and Africa, linking these regions into a broad
telecommunications network

SS/L will provide mission operations and support for APSTAR-IIR from launch
through delivery on orbit to APT Satellite after a brief in-orbit test
(IOT) period.  The spacecraft will be operated from its geosynchronous
station at 76.5 degrees East longitude.  Orbit raising and IOT will be
controlled from SS/L's mission control centre in Palo Alto.  
The APSTAR satellite operates 28 C-band transponders at 60 watts, and 16
Ku-band transponders at 110 watts.  APSTAR-IIR has an expected mission life
of 15 years.  

PanAmSat Unveils PAS-5 Programmer Lineup
----------------------------------------
PanAmSat Corp. reports that the PAS-5 Atlantic Ocean Region satellite will
deliver more than 20 television channels to Latin America. 

The satellite, which commenced commercial service on Oct. 13, 1997, will
broadcast the top names in Spanish- and Portuguese-language television
channels from programmers based in Argentina, Britain, Chile and the United
States. 
The PAS-5 programmer lineup includes: 
 
 HBO Ole, Cinemax, E! Entertainment Television, Mundo Ole, Sony
Entertainment Television and WBTV-The Warner Channel  from HBO Latin
America; 
 Animal Planet and People & Arts, from the joint venture of Discovery
Communications Inc., and the BBC; 
 Associated Press Television; 
 CBS Telenoticias, which will transmit both Spanish- and
Portuguese-language channels; 
 ESPN International; 
 Eurochampions, which offers sports television services in both Spanish
and Portuguese; 
 MGM Gold Brazil; 
 Television Nacional de Chile (TVN), which will offer both a domestic and
international channel;
 Universidad Catolica de Television;
 Mujer, Mujer International, Fashion and Bravo, which are included in the
programming from Video Cable Communicaciones; and
 The Weather Channel Latin America 

PAS-5, a Hughes HS 601 HP satellite, was launched on Aug. 27, 1997, from
the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard the first Proton rocket launch
for PanAmSat.  The satellite contains 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders
and is located at the orbital location of 58 degrees West Longitude.  The
programming above will be transmitted over the PAS-5 Americas beam, which
provides coverage of the Americas with access to Europe.  

In addition to the C-band programming, PAS-5 is the platform for Sky Latin
America's direct-to-home television service in Mexico.  Sky Latin America,
which is using 12 Ku-band transponders on PAS-5, is a partnership formed by
News Corporation, Grupo Televisa, Organizacoes Globo and
Tele-Communications International Inc. 
 
Loral/Autrey Joint Venture Wins Auction for Mexican Satellite Operations 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Loral Space said that its joint venture has been selected as the winner of
the auction to acquire a 75% stake in Satelites Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V.
(SatMex).  Mexico's Communications and Transport Ministry announced that
the bid of $688 million submitted by the joint venture formed by Loral and
its Mexican partner, Telefonica Autrey, was the winning bid for the
privatization of Mexico's satellite operations.  It is anticipated that the
formal announcement will be made within days and the closing will take
place prior to year-end.  

SatMex's assets consist of three operating satellites, Morelos II,
Solidaridad 1 and Solidaridad 2, along with tracking, telemetry and control
sites in Mexico City and Hermosillo, Sonora.  The company, which has
approximately 230 employees, offers its substantial customer base
television, radio, voice and data services via public and private networks.
 Existing customer contracts generate, at a current annual run rate,
revenues of approximately $110 million and earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of approximately $86 million. The
successful bidder will receive concessions to use the three orbital slots
to provide satellite services for 20 years with automatic renewals for an
additional 20 years.  Also included in the transaction is a satellite with
greater power and coverage, now under construction, to replace the Morelos
II, which is nearing the end of its service life.  
 
SatMex's satellite system currently provides coverage over Mexico, the
southern and eastern United States, Central America, the Caribbean and
South America.  The replacement satellite, Morelos III, is scheduled for
service in late 1998 and will extend this coverage, encompassing an area
from Canada to Argentina.  The recently executed protocol between Mexico
and the United States will permit SatMex satellites to fully serve United
States markets.  
The Loral/Autrey venture intends to finance the purchase of the 75 percent
stake in SatMex through a combination of approximately $150 million in
cash, and non-recourse bank and high-yield financing. 

Discovery Channel goes Pan-European
-----------------------------------

GlobeCast Northern Europe (formerly Maxat) has launched two of Discovery
Networks Europe's channels, Animal Planet (in analogue) and Discovery
Channel (in digital), across Europe. This follows the success of the
distribution of Discovery Networks Europe's digital Eastern European
service earlier in the year, also managed by GlobeCast NE. 

Both services are transmitted onto one satellite transponder in a
configuration known as a simulcast - an analogue and digital service
transmitted simultaneously to the same satellite transponder. GlobeCast NE
has also negotiated a lifetime lease on Eutelsat's Hot Bird 1 for the
multi-million pound pan-European deal with Discovery Networks Europe. 

GlobeCast NE provides the uplink service onto Hot Bird 1 from its North
London teleport in Brookmans Park.  Scientific Atlanta has provided a
PowerVu MPEG- 2/DVB digital video compression equipment, also housed at
Brookmans Park
 
Iridium Says Second Satellite Malfunctions
------------------------------------------

Iridium LLC has announced a second satellite in its system has suffered an
"anomaly." The loss comes three months after contact was lost with another
satellite but will not change the commercial launch target of September
1998, according to the company.

The satellite, which had not been handed over to Iridium and so is still
owned by Motorola, experienced a problem with the attitude control
circuitry, the part of the satellite that controls its stability and
ensures it remains pointed towards the earth. Motorola will bear the
financial cost of the failure, announced Iridium. 

TEAMSAT, a "passenger" for ARIANE 502
-------------------------------------

One of the "passengers" to be flown on the ARIANE 502 flight is an ESA
project involving young graduate trainees and executed at ESA's R&D
establishment, ESTEC, in The Netherlands. TEAMSAT (Technology, science and
Education experiments Added to Maqsat) is an initiative of the Automation
and Informatics Department at ESTEC, a response to the opportunity afforded
by the Ariane 5 qualification launch (A502). The satellite was produced in
only seven months from start (December 1996) to readiness (July 1997). 

Costs were kept to a bare minimum (less than one million ECU) through the
use of existing flight equipment and generous support from various ESA
departments. And the launch is being provided free of charge.  

Five experiments, already in the final stages of completion and flight
readiness, were integrated into an octagonal aluminium "box". Two identical
"boxes" were produced; one "dummy" and one flight model. 

After the qualification programme it was available for use in flight,
should the flight model not be completed by the launch date. ESTEC was
responsible for the design and manufacture of the "boxes", the power
system, the data handling and communication systems. ESOC, ESA's Space
Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, is providing the necessary ground
support and satellite flight control services from a control centre located
in Kourou. To allow as many students as possible to participate, experiment
control will be performed remotely from ESTEC at an "Experiment Control
Centre", re-using computers and software used in the spacecraft testing. 

The five experiments comprising the 350kg TEAMSAT payload are: 

Orbiting Debris Device(ODD) - Automation & Informatics Department, ESTEC.
The MAQSAT-H satellite is painted with contrasting patterns (75% white and
25% black) to support testing and calibration of ground-based optical and
radar stations in Europe. The contrasting paint should also allow detection
of the rotation or tumbling of MAQSAT-H. Additionally, surface paint
degradation will be studied. 

Autonomous Vision System (AVS) - Technical University of Denmark. AVS is a
camera which automatically recognises and tracks stars or non-stellar
objects (such as satellites). AVS can be used to identify specific stars,
determine the attitude of satellites for navigation purposes and acquire
images.

Visual Telemetry System (VTS) - MMS Bristol (UK) / IMEC and OIP (Belgium).
VTS is an imaging system to monitor spacecraft activities such as the
operations of critical mechanisms. TEAMSAT hosts a system of three cameras
and a master unit to provide compressed image sequences of the fairing
opening and satellite separations. 
          
Flux Probe Experiment (FIPEX) - University of Stuttgart. FIPEX will measure
the concentration of atomic oxygen at altitudes up to 1000 kilometres.
Atomic oxygen is known for its erosion effect and degradation of optical
surfaces and lenses. 

Young Engineers' Satellite (YES)- Delft University of Technology. YES is a
sub-satellite developed to be deployed on a 35km tether, to study the
dynamics of tethered satellites. It was designed, assembled and integrated
in record time by young graduates and students at ESTEC. A GPS receiver is
installed to evaluate the use of GPS for navigation, especially above the
GPS satellite constellation. YES also contains technology validation
experiments which will measure radiation, the solar angle and acceleration
in autonomous mode, after separation from MAQSAT-H. Unfortunately, the
afternoon launch window requirement could not be accommodated, resulting in
the tether posing too high a collision and debris risk. Consequently the
tether will no longer be deployed but the sub-satellite will be separated
from TEAMSAT. 
 
The project has enabled Young Graduate Trainees (YGTs) and Spanish Trainees
to gain valuable experience in designing, building and integrating a
satellite and its payload. YGTs come to ESA (mainly to the Technical
Departments in ESTEC) for a period of one year to be involved in the
everyday work of the Agency. Under an agreement with Spain, ESTEC also
hosts a small number of Spanish Trainees for a period of two years to gain
work experience and knowledge to take back with them to Spanish industry.
Some 43 young engineers on these schemes and  from the Delft University of
Technology were involved at some stage of the project. The project has also
been invaluable experience for ESA staff, providing a flight opportunity
for several technologies developed in-house and under industrial contracts.


The names of all the project participants, engraved on a side panel of
TEAMSAT, will be in space for the lifetime of its geostationary transfer
orbit around the earth. 

Since the project was a last-minute flight opportunity for which there was
no cover in any budgets, there was little money available for parts and
equipment. So some very creative scavenging for unused or spare equipment
had to be done; among the items collected from earlier projects were
batteries from ECS and transponders from the Olympus and Eureca satellites.

   
Inexperience in the design and construction of satellites meant that
considerable spare-time effort was required from ESTEC and ESOC staff to
guide the young engineers and students. The mechanical design and
fabrication were carried out in the ESTEC workshop, relying heavily on the
years of experience and workmanship of the technicians and engineers -
several of whom, being already retired, volunteered to return to their old
place of work to pass on "tips and tricks" to the younger generation. Newly
developed data-handling systems employing ESA's packetised data standards
were adapted for TEAMSAT and the YES sub-satellite. ESTEC facilities were
used to test the satellite, in particular the "shaker", which exposed the
satellite to conditions similar to the demanding launch environment. To
simplify the design of the spacecraft no attitude control, power generation
or thermal control was incorporated. 
   
The flight operations would have been impossible to perform without the
contribution of ESOC, which is providing access to its ground stations,
network infrastructure and vast experience of satellite operations. A
flight control system for both TEAMSAT and YES was configured from the new
generation control system (SCOS2) in record time, tested at ESTEC and
installed at Kourou.  

Hughes Under Contract for Russian TV Satellite
-----------------------------------------------

Hughes Space and Communications International Inc. has been awarded its
first Russian contract for a telecommunications satellite, launch-vehicle
services and ground-station control equipment from BONUM-1. 
BONUM-1 is a subsidiary of Media Most, a major private Russian media group,
which is developing satellite television-broadcasting services in Russia. 

The new satellite, which will bear the name of its owner, will be an HS 376
high-power model satellite and will provide digital direct-to-home
television services to the western part of Russia.  The satellite is
scheduled for delivery in-orbit in November 1998 and will be launched on a
Boeing Delta II launch vehicle. 

Hughes will also provide the BONUM-1 ground satellite-control equipment for
use at the control center and will provide training to the satellite
controllers. 
 
BONUM-1 will contain eight active Ku-band transponders, which, as a result
of digital compression technology, will be capable of providing up to 50
channels using 75-watt traveling wave-tube amplifiers. It will be located
at 36 degrees East longitude and will have a service life of 11 years. 

Global Signals Now All Digital through CANCOM
---------------------------------------------

Cancom  has converted from analogue to digital the satellite distribution
of the Global (CIII-TV) network signal.  Cancom will also be provide
digital satellite distribution for the brand new CanWest specialty service
PrimeTV

The transition of the network signal took place over the past couple of
weeks to ensure affiliates had time to adjust to the new technology. 
PrimeTV was launched just in time for the introduction of the new specialty
services.

Compared to the average digital signal, Global transmits a  10Mb/s full
resolution signal to approximately 150 cable head ends, 20 broadcast
stations and numerous rebroadcast towers across Ontario aimed at over the
air viewing.  In addition, this new distribution capacity will feed
Global's new Quebec City signal throughout the Quebec/Montreal corridor.

DiviCom Private  Network
------------------------
DiviCom Inc. reports that SatCom Systems has purchased a complete DiviCom
compression, multiplexing and data injection system for new satellite
services.  SatCom's service is targeted at television programmers and
business television customers in North and Central America.

The SatCom Systems network is DVB-compliant, and makes use of existing
integrated receiver/decoders (IRDs) installed by Tee-Comm under its
AlphaStar service.  After AlphaStar went off the air, SatCom relied on
DiviCom to create a new headend to leverage the IRDs.  DiviCom supplied its
standard compression system to successfully transmit an MPEG-2 signal to
the existing IRDs.

"We were able to help SatCom get its former AlphaStar customers back on the
air without going out in the field to retrieve the AlphaStar IRDs,"  said
Tom Lookabaugh, senior vice president and general manager, DiviCom Inc

SatCom was able to update the IRD software remotely by downloading the
necessary code over the satellite to the IRDs with minimal downtime.  This
operation would not have been possible using other configurations, and
SatCom was spared the time and expense of replacing IRDs in the field.

Sci-Fi Channel blasts Off on Canal Digital
------------------------------------------

Sci-Fi Channel Europe has launched on Scandinavian digital satellite
platform Canal Digital.
Available as part of Canal Digital's basic package serviced from Telenor's
satellite at one degree west, Sci-Fi Channel will initially be a 16 hour
service, operating from 13:00 to 05:00 local time.  60% of prime time
product will be subtitled.
 
Sci-Fi Channel's autumn schedule features the cable and satellite premiere
of  "Dark Skies," "Space Rangers" and "Buck Rogers In The 25th Century." 
Sci-Fi's "Making Of" series, which features best of up-coming Hollywood
sci-fi, also goes on set for future blockbusters "Event Horizon,"
"Contact," "Virus" and  "Starship Troopers."  Factual series "Inside
Space," "The Web" and "C/Net," meanwhile, return to update viewers on the
latest developments in space exploration and cutting-edge technology.

Sci-Fi's winter season sees a host of Scandinavian premieres, including the
youth-oriented action-adventure series "Deepwater Black: Mission Genesis"
and comedy show "Planet Mirth."  Making its European television premiere
will be the Sci-Fi original production "Mystery Science Theatre 3000
(MST3K)," a comedy-film series that has gathered a massive fan base in the
US.  In addition, Sci-Fi Europe's original news magazine program "SF Scene"
will continue in its second series.

In Brief
------------
Second Ariane-5 space launch postponed again

The launch of Western Europe's second Ariane-5 rocket has been postponed
again. The announced date of October 28 has been pushed back and the new
launch date will be announced later this week.

Estonia's TV1 to Transmit via 1 Degree 

TV1 and Telenor Satellite Services have signed an agreement whereby TV1
will transmit its programmes to the whole of Estonia via Telenor's
one-degree west position. TV1 is a privately owned TV channel which
presently only broadcasts in Tallin. On 1 October TV1 became the first
Baltic TV channel to be delivered via satellite. It began distributing
digital programmes to terrestrial broadcasters across the rest of  Estonia
using Telenor's capacity on Intelsat 707. 

BT takes $20 million stake in ICO

BT has decided to invest $20 million in ICO Global Communications, becoming
the 50th ICO shareholder.

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