Sat-ND, 15.7.96

Sat-ND 96-07-15 - Satellite and Media News

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"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
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*** Sat-ND summer break: August 1 to August 15 ***

Setback for TCI's Canadian Adventure
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today dismissed a bid by
cable monolith TCI to use Canadian satellites for a direct broadcast
digital TV service. The application was rejected because the Canadian
government so far hasn't licensed the use of the satellites. ''We do not
act on earth station applications unless the space station has been
licensed,'' said Donald Gips, acting chief of the FCC's International
Bureau. 'In this case, Canada has not licensed the satellites the
applicants seek to use and, in fact, we have no assurance that the space
stations will be licensed.''
TCI had urged the FCC to decide upon their bid by today, claiming a
decision was necessary to book satellite launch services in Russia.

Bertelsmann looking for new partners
The largest German media group Bertelsmann AG is looking for a partner to
replace Rupert Murdoch in its so-called digital alliance with France's
pay-TV provider Canal+ and French media group Havas. A Bertelsmann
spokesman confirmed that the company is considering teaming up with US
companies to roll out its digital TV service in Germany. New partners
might also take a stake in Bertelsmann's television units. However, it is
yet unknown whether Canal+ will be a part of the alliance or rather join
the digital service DF1 of Leo Kirch and Rupert Murdoch. 
The public is still waiting for details: While DF1 will start this month,
almost nothing is known about the rivalling service of the alliance.
Believe it or not, but the Bertelsmann spokesman told news agency Reuters
that "this is now a good time to sit back and think which option makes the
most sense."
Separately, the spokesman confirmed that Bertelsmann is considering
listing 49.9 percent of RTL on the bourse to enable financing of future

News from Bill and Ted
As from today, Microsoft is a content provider. The software giant
launched its all-news venture MSNBC with the TV network NBC on cable and
on the World Wide Web. The company said it will offer real-time video and
high-fidelity sound on the Internet as soon as technology permits it.
MSNBC can initially be received in 22.5 million US households. A $50
million promotion and marketing campaign is in the works for this fall.
MSNBC will also be available in the German digital TV package DF1, along
with NBC and CNBC. However, unscrambled analogue distribution of NBC and
CNBC in Europe on EUTELSAT II-F1 and ASTRA will continue.
The mother of all news channels, CNN, has meanwhile launched its CNNfn to
compete with CNBC. A CNN sports channel is slated for launch in December
(competing with ESPNEWS, planned launch: November 1.), A Spanish-language
CNN will debut in March 1997, competing with the US version of
TeleNoticias which is expected later this year after the station was
bought by CBS owner Westinghouse Electric Corp.

Californian launch site in international waters
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) has signed an agreement with Sea Launch for
five satellite launches from an ocean-going platform. Sea Launch is
jointly owned by Boeing Commercial Space Co. (U.S.), which has overall
project management responsibilities; Kvaerner a.s. (Norway), which is
responsible for maritime resources; KB Yuzhnoye and PO Yuzhmash (Ukraine),
which manufacture the two-stage Zenit rocket upon which the Sea Launch
rocket is based; and RSC-Energija (Russia), which builds the upper stage
of the Sea Launch rocket and other launch support systems.
Launching satellites from a sea-based platform makes some sense,
considering the geographical facts. Sea Launch is developing its U.S. home
port in Long Beach, California. From there, an assembly and command ship
will transport the rockets to the launch platform. SS/L and another
important satellite manufacturer, Hughes, are California based. Launching
their satellites from international waters in the Pacific will definitely
be cheaper than sending them to remote launch sites such as French-Guyana
or Kazakhstan. 
SS/L is the prime contractor for the Globalstar satellites, TCI/Tempo,
PanAmSat G, L-STAR, and MCI direct broadcast satellites, the nine
satellites in the INTELSAT VII series, N-STAR, Mabuhay, APSTAR 2R,
TELSTAR-5 and PanAmSat 7 & 8 communication satellites, as well as the
latest series of GOES (Geostationary Operation Environment Satellite), and
the Japanese MTSAT. SS/L has not yet assigned the payloads for the
launches starting in the second half of 1998 and running through the year

New satellites
TÜRKSAT 1C was observed at 29.9E, according to latest data from NASA and
NORAD. Yesterday, the satellite was still drifting slowly at a rate of
half a degree eastward per day. ARABSAT 2A, launched on the same Ariane
flight, today appeared at 19.3E while moving 1.5 eastward per day.
APSTAR 1A, recently launched with a Chinese rocket, is geostationary at

Transponder news
Peter Krause has observed the Indian channel NEPC on INTELSAT 703 (57E)
at 4.050 GHz lhc, sound subcarrier 6.6 MHz. Reception in the western part
of Germany is fair with a 2.8m (9ft.) dish. 

Richard Karlsson and Stuart Breedon-Smith told me that the radio station
on Sky Movies Gold, subcarrier 7.38 MHz, is definitely not ASDA FM but a
new service called Costcutter FM. Stuart added that "full transmissions
are said to commence on July 15th," i.e. today. 

Web Watch
By Grandpa Zheng

The Intelsat Web Site was completely revamped. Not only does it offer a
nicer look, it is also much more user-friendly. For example, you can
access satellite footprints directly from the main page. The site uses the
standard http port 80 instead of 8080, so the address now simply is

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

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