Sat-ND, 10.7.96

Sat-ND 96-07-09 - Satellite and Media News

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This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<

Ariane Flight 89 successful
Arianespace yesterday launched two telecommunications satellites, ARABSAT
2A and TÜRKSAT 1C, following a 45-minute delay because of bad weather
conditions. The seventh Arianespace flight this year was carried out by an
Ariane 44L, the most powerful version of the European launcher, equipped
with four liquid-propellant strap-on boosters. Twenty minutes after
takeoff ARABSAT 2A separated from the rocket, followed by TÜRKSAT 1C four
minutes later.
It was the 60th of 86 Ariane 4 launch vehicles ordered from the European
space industry. So far, only three of the 60 Ariane 4 flights were
ARABSAT 2A is the first one of a new generation of satellites operated
Arabsat. It was built by prime contractor Aerospatiale Space and Defence
Division in France. The payload was developed by Alcatel Espace in
Toulouse, France. Weighing 2,617 kg (5,770 lb.) at lift-off, it has 22
C-band and 12 Ku-band transponders. Positioned at 26E, it will provide
telecommunications and direct broadcast television services to all 21
nations of the Arab League. Its operational lifetime is expected to last
16 years,
TÜRKSAT 1C was built and developed by the same team for the Turkish
Telecom. Weighing 1,743 kg (3,843 lb.) at lift-off, it is equipped with 16
Ku-band transponders. The satellite, expected to be operational for a
ten-year period, will complement TÜRKSAT 1B which is providing
telecommunications and TV service. Initial in-orbit tests will be carried
out at 31.3E. Later, TÜRKSAT 1C will be moved to its final position 42E.

Following Flight 89, Arianespace has now a backlog of 42 satellites to be
launched. The next flight is slated for August 7. An Ariane 44L launch
vehicle will carry two European telecommunications satellites into orbit:
ITALSAT F2 for Telecom Italia and TELECOM 2D for France Telecom.
Information about ARABSAT, TÜRKSAT, and other Aerospatiale satellites can
be found at http://www.telecom-valley.fr/aeroca/sat/sat.html (although
only in French.)

Kirch looking for BSkyB stake
BSkyB today confirmed its new partner, Germany's Kirch group, was aiming
to acquire a stake in the British satellite broadcaster. Major
shareholders in BSkyB are Rupert Murdoch's News International (40
percent,) Pathé (France, 17 percent,) and Granada Group Plc (11 percent.)
A Pathé spokesman declined to comment on rumours it might sell its stake
in BSkyB, adding the company considered the stake as a strategic asset.
Last Monday, BSkyB had announced it would take over 49 percent of Kirch's
digital TV package DF1, due to be launched on July 28 with 17 channels

Islamic Satellites
Speaking at a conference in Tehran, the Iranian Minister of Posts,
Telegraph and Telephone today proposed the development of a regional
satellite system for he Islamic countries. Following that, "a Space Agency
of Islamic Countries" should be established in order to "bring economic
and social benefits and enhance the legal status of the Islamic World."

Hungarian channel on Hot Bird 2
According to a statement from Hungarian Broadcasting Corporation's
president Peter E. Klenner, the company signed a contract with pay-TV
company NetHold for distributing A3 TV via satellite. A3, currently
reaching only 30 percent of Hungarian households by terrestrial means,
will use EUTELSAT Hot Bird 2 to deliver its signal to cable networks and
direct to home viewers. By the end of next year, A3 TV hopes for an actual
penetration of 70 percent of the Hungarian market. Additionally, the
channel hopes to reach Hungarian minorities in other countries.
Hungarian Broadcasting Corporation also announced to transmit A3 on ASTRA
for a few weeks, starting in August. The service will be shifted to Hot
Bird 2 as soon as the satellite is operational. The statement did not
mention whether transmissions will be analogue or digital. 

Portugal sets up channel for Africa
Portugal will set up a satellite channel targeted at its former colonies
on the African continent later this year. According to government minister
Jorge Coelho, programming should promote Portuguese language and culture
in Africa. So far, state broadcaster RTP has been transmitting its channel
RTP Internacional, a blend of its two domestic channels, to Africa on
EKSPRESS 2, 14W, 4.022 GHz rhc.

French government to decide on La Cinquième, La Sept
A committee set up by some French ministries will decide on the future of
TV channels La Cinquième and La Sept, French contributor to the cultural
channel arte. Parliament members recently demanded both channels be merged
in order to cut costs. Both already share a terrestrial network, covering
86 percent of French TV households. While the educational channel La
Cinquième broadcasts in the daytime, La Sept/arte takes over in the
Officials at the French-German channel arte expect no changes, except that
the French partner becomes "bigger and stronger." 

Luxembourg not too successful in establishing online services
Europe Online (EOL) is searching for new investors following the drop-out
of the so far biggest shareholder, Germany's Burda GmbH. So far, six
companies expressed their interest, one of them CompuServe Corp.
Europe Online, originally planned as just another online service using
proprietary software, later shifted its strategy to the Internet. It was
publisher Burda who insisted on this move, but now Burda officials
complained that the resulting product was "just too hard to navigate." A
few days ago, Burda said it would stop financing the service. Earlier,
Axel Springer Verlag (Germany) and Matra Hachette (France) left the
apparently ill-fated venture.
The figures speak for themselves: There are 25,000 EOL subscribers for the
national services offered in Germany, Britain and Luxembourg as well as an
international service in English. T-Online, Deutsche Telekom's online
service, has about a million subscribers in Germany, CompuServe (having
entered the German market very early) counts some 250,000, and newcomer
AOL reports 115,000 German subscribers after just six months of presence
in the country.
Last Tuesday, the Luxembourg Court of Commerce accepted the EOL's
company's request to be put under court control. The company is now
protected from creditors and bankruptcy proceedings while negotiating with
new investors and restructuring its shareholdership.
Europe Online's other shareholders include the US companies Meigher
Communications, AT&T, British publisher Pearson Plc, Luxembourg's Société
National de Crédit et d'Investissement, and Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de
l'État du Grande Duché de Luxembourg.  Satellite historians know both of
these Luxembourg banks very well, as they belonged to the founding members
of Société Européenne des Satellites, better known as SES. One of the key
figures in setting up SES and its ASTRA satellite system was Candace
Johnson, who happens to be a member of the EOL board nowadays.

Stay up late
First life signs of the Atlanta Olympics appeared on satellite last night.
Three NTSC-525 signals showed up on INTELSAT 512 (21.3W) in the C-band at
around 2:30 am. Two half-transponders with left-hand circular polarisation
were used on the NE zone beam, and a right-hand one on the global beam
(4090 GHz). Signal strength varied while transponder adjustments were
carried out. 
Juergen Stichler <just0000@stud.uni-sb.de>

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

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