Sat-ND, 7.7.96

Sat-ND 96-07-07 - Satellite and Media News

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Ariane flight 89
Next Tuesday will see the launch of ARABSAT 2A and TÜRKSAT 1C with an
Ariane 4-L launcher from French Guyana. 
ARABSAT 2A is the first satellite based on the Spacebus 3000 platform
developed by French company Aerospatiale. The 2.6-ton satellite has an
operational lifetime of 16 years. An identical spacecraft called ARABSAT
2B is expected to be launched in 1997. The telecommunications part,
providing telephony circuits as well as television transmissions, was
supplied by Alcatel.
TÜRKSAT 1C, based on Aerospatiale's Spacebus 2000 platform, was developed
in co-operation with Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG. For at least ten years, it
will provide telephony and television services for remote parts of Turkey
as well as for Central Europe. TÜRKSAT 1C will replace TÜRKSAT 1A which
was lost soon after it was launched. 
A ceremony for the launching of the 1.75-ton satellite will be held at the
Türksat Ground Control Centre, and the launch will be broadcast live on
television across the country. Europeans interested in the launch might
want to check the Turkish channels on EUTELSAT for a live transmission.
The new satellite, more efficient than the previous one, requires less
energy to operate, but covers a broader area. 
Interestingly, Turkish media outlets also said the satellite could be used
for national defense purposes.

The next Ariane launches
August 7	Telecom 2D / Italsat 2
September 10	Echostar 2
October 15	Insat 2D / Measat 2
November 14	Panamsat 6
December 17	Thaicom 3 / Nahuel 1A
(Henk C. Room) 

Good-bye Germany, hello Saudi-Arabia
Germany will withdraw from a spy satellite programme that was officially
agreed upon with France in December 1995. In order to gain independence
from surveillance data supplied by the USA, both countries agreed to
jointly launch and operate the French-built HELIOS II within ten years.
Ending months of speculation, German defence minister Volker Rühe today
was quoted by newspaper Bild am Sonntag as saying "I don't really have
enough money for this programme." The cost for HELIOS II were estimated at
more than DM3 billion or FFr11 billion.
However, France seems to have found a new partner country that most
certainly has no fiscal problems. The International Herald Tribune
reported that France had proposed selling its spy satellite to Saudi
Arabia. A spokesman for the French defence ministry, definitely not
lacking a certain sense of humour, pointed out that "there are indeed
exploratory talks under way about satellite co-operation projects for the
region, but these projects may concern hydrographic or archaeological
research as well as anything else." So far, it's unclear whether a deal
would involve the sale of satellites or just access to their data.
France has been developing its own spy satellites since the 1991 Gulf war.
Back then, the government got the impression that the Americans tailored
the results of their satellite imagery, passed on to their allies, to fit
their own aims.

New uplink station in Yugoslavia
A new satellite ground station today was inaugurated in Yugoslavia. YU-3,
as it probably will be identified on test cards prior to video feeds, is
located in a village named Prilike in Central Serbia. YU-3 provides access
to INTELSAT as well as EUTELSAT satellites. Apart from television feeds,
it will enable 960 digital telephony circuits to be carried on satellite.
The construction of the station began in 1992 but had to be suspended the
same year following international sanctions imposed on Yugoslavia. 

US administration halts TCI's satellite (ad)venture
US cable giant TCI is encountering some more problems with what might be
called their Canadian adventure. The company which has not managed to gain
a domestic license for digital satellite TV plans to use Canadian
satellites to beam into the USA.
Clinton administration officials have now asked the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) to halt a decision on the requests by TCI and TelQuest
Ventures, claiming that "foreign, trade or competition policy issues
within the jurisdiction of the Executive Branch" were raised. At least,
the FCC should wait until the Canadian government has authorised the
orbital requests.
The problem is that TCI can't really wait. Although initially two Canadian
satellites already in orbit will be used, two new satellites will have to
be built and launched. A TCI spokeswoman said the company needed the FCC's
approval before July 15 in order to meet a launch window.
Observers said that following the government request it would be difficult
for the FCC to grant the license for Canada's Telesat to beam into US
territory. FCC staff  are also reported to have expressed reservations
about the TCI deal without some broadcast reciprocity. Canada has
generally blocked US radio and TV on Canadian satellites. 

Even more satellites for Deutsche Telekom?
Deutsche Telekom has teamed up with Malaysia's Technology Resources
Industries' (TRI) to acquire "technology and a global presence," according
to TRI Chairman Tajudin Ramly. The deal in which Telekom acquires a 21
percent stake in TRI is estimated at DM1.2 billion.,1.4 billion ringgit,
or US$ 570 million.
TRI so far is mainly engaged in the cellular phones business, where it
holds a 70 percent market share. Deutsche Telekom is expected to bring
expertise in fixed land lines and multimedia applications. TRI also plans
to launch a communications satellite but so far hasn't discussed the
matter with Deutsche Telekom. Telekom's own satellites (TV-Sat and DFS) so
far turned out to be no success. On the other hand, the company which will
be listed publicly by November 1996, is very likely the only one that
participates in Intelsat, Eutelsat, SES (ASTRA), Intersputnik and - by the
way - the Indonesian satellite system PALAPA.

Med TV back on INTELSAT 603?
Turkish attempts to kill Med TV may have failed... I've had an email from
an engineer at Med TV who says they will be broadcasting via INTELSAT 603
(34.5W) at 10.972 GHz v, Audio 6.60/7.20 MHz in the future.
(Robin Clark)

Re: Sat-ND, 4.7.96
The teletext service of Viva 2 on EUTELSAT II-F1 (13E) should by now have
ceased. The recent tests were performed just to show off at a regional
music fair. Regular service is expected to commence next year.
(Holger Zeissler/pck)

Zeroes and Ones 

Quo vadis, EOL?
German publishing house Burda, once the driving force behind the online
service Europe Online (EOL,) may pull out of the Luxembourg based holding
Europe Online S.A., a Burda spokesman said yesterday. Holding a 26 percent
stake, Burda paid up to 50 percent of EOL's expenses in the past. 
This will stop, and Burda may even sell off its stake completely. A final
decision is expected during the next few days. The online market was
changing rapidly, the Burda spokesman claimed, adding that commercial
success could only be achieved by swift measures.
Burda is expected to expand its domestic online activities, so far
consisting mainly of the German EOL branch which Burda wholly owns, and
Web sites featuring content from the company's magazines such as Focus.
Other EOL shareholders include Pearson PLC (UK) and AT&T (USA). Originally
planned as an online service using proprietary software provided by AT&T,
the strategy was later changed to providing Internet access and content.

Thanks to our contributors 
Robin Clark, meteorologist extraordinaire <R.Clark-1@plymouth.ac.uk>
Henk C. Room <hcroom@intouch.com>
Holger Zeissler <Holger.Zeissler@darmstadt.netsurf.de>
Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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