Sat-ND, 24.6.96

Sat-ND 96-06-24 - Satellite and Media News

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"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
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American rocket to use Russian engine
Space Systems/Loral will be the first company to use the new Atlas IIAR
launch vehicle offered by ILS International Launch Services. Loral has
signed up for two launches, expected to take place in the fourth quarter
of 1998 and the third quarter of 1999. The payload is still to be
The Atlas IIAR is based upon the Atlas IIA design, but "re-engined" 
that's what the R stands for. The most important change is that only two
engines will be used instead of nine. One engine will be supplied by
Russia's NPO, replacing the current stage-and-a-half design with
additional strap-on boosters on Atlas II-AS. Atlas II-AR will be able
deliver payloads of up to 3810 kilograms into a geostationary transfer
orbit, 110 kilograms more that the current Atlas II-A. Less engines and
less stages will also increase the launcher's reliability, ILS officials
Loral had booked a number of ILS launches before. They include two TEMPO
direct broadcast satellites that will be put into orbit by a Russian
Proton next December and an American Atlas IIA in Spring 1997
respectively. A TELSTAR satellite is expected to be launched with a Proton
rocket in May 1997, two direct broadcast satellites for Rupert Murdoch's
News Corp and MCI are to follow by early 1998.

More launches, more money
Arianespace, the world leader in commercial space transportation services,
has reported sales of over FF7 billion (US$1.4 billion) in 1995 when 13
satellites were put into orbit with 11 rockets. In 1994, Arianespace
generated sales of  FF4.6 billion and a net income if FF140 million. Last
year, the income rose to FF190 million.
Despite some setbacks with its Ariane 4 launcher in recent years,
Arianespace is well on the way to meeting their own goal of 30 launches
within three years which was set up in 1994. Since then, 17 launches were
carried out, placing 20 satellites into orbit. The new goal is even more
ambitious: From 1996 to 1999, 70 satellite launches are planned, 18
launches in 1997. If necessary, the company is able to launch a satellite
every three weeks. 44 more launches have so far been booked.

tm3 replaces RTL V
German theme channel tm3 has announced it will take over the ASTRA
transponder 64 currently used by RTL V. tm3 will start broadcasting on
ASTRA on September 1 in clear PAL. The channel, currently available on
EUTELSAT II-F1 only, so far had problems getting into the overcrowded
German cable networks. It seems unlikely that the channel will stay on
EUTELSAT any longer than necessary, and that means until reception at
cable headends will have been switched to ASTRA.
Dutch channels RTL 4, RTL 5, and Veronica will cease analogue distribution
via ASTRA this summer.

The contract's still intact
Surprise, surprise: There will be a third partner involved in the merger
of the European media giants Bertelsmann (Germany) and CLT (Luxembourg).
WAZ, a group of regional newspapers in the western part of Germany, will
be part of the newly formed company. WAZ joined forces with Bertelsmann a
few months ago in a fierce take-over battle over the most popular TV
channel in Germany, RTL Television. Ironically, back than the enemy was no
other than CLT. 
Together with WAZ, Bertelsmann managed to gain a majority stake in RTL,
but at high cost. Bertelsmann's subsidiary Ufa set up a joint venture with
WAZ, due to hold both companies' TV stakes. Things have changed since
then, but the contract between Ufa and WAZ still exists. It now seems to
be the basis for WAZ's claim to be involved in the Bertelsmann-CLT merger.
Both companies declined to comment. However, WAZ stated that it was
prepared to take over a part of the DM1.6 billion Bertelsmann has to pay
for the merger. 

The 21 mystery
The Belgian French language public channel RTBf will split up its second
terrestrial channel RTBF 21 into two channels. One of them, Eurosport/21,
will be in co-operation with Eurosport France: RTBf sports programming
will be broadcast via Eurosport's cable frequencies. Nevertheless, there
are still some problems regarding commercials broadcast by Eurosport while
RTBf programming is on. The other channel, Arc-en-ciel 21 (Rainbow 21!)
will focus on serious and minority programming, including the daily news
in sign language. RTBf already co-operates with arte (arte programming and
other cultural programmes were broadcast via terrestrial transmitters a
few years ago, the name of the channel was ARTE/21 .... I don't know why
the people at RTBf are so fond of the number 21!) These channels might
also be broadcast via the MultiChoice digital package on ASTRA. FilmNet is
still negotiating with Belgian broadcasters including RTBf, the public
broadcaster of the Flemish region (BRTN) as well as Flemish commercial
channels VTM and Kanaal 2 to be in their Belgian package. (Maarten Vidal)

What Belgian doctors watch at night
In Brussels, a scrambled channel has started test broadcasts: it's a Dutch
language channel, aimed at doctors; programmes will include information
and medical documentaries. It's the second Flemish minority channel to
start broadcasting, the other one is Kinderatelier (a few years ago this
channel was uplinked via Eutelsat II F3). The other ones, Senior TV and
Kunskanaal Vlaanderen (arts channel) already have their licences, but are
not yet broadcasting. The medical channel broadcasts over night. (Maarten

Thanks to our contributor --

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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