Sat-ND, 22.7.96

Sat-ND 96-07-22 - Satellite and Media News

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This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
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*** Sat-ND summer break: August 1 to August 15 ***

Yet another US-Russian launch deal
Rockwell and Ukraine-based NPO Yuzhnoye have signed a launch services
agreement under which Rockwell's Space Systems Division will provide
world-wide marketing, sales, and payload integration for commercial space
launch services of NPO Yuzhnoye's Cyclone launch vehicle. 
The Cyclone launch vehicle was developed from what were originally the
first and second stages of the SS-9 intercontinental ballistic missile; a
third stage was added to carry and deliver satellites into orbit. With a
payload capability of nearly 8,000 pounds, it will compete in the Low Earth
Orbit (LEO) to Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) commercial satellite market.
Cyclone is ideally suited for both the new generation of communications
satellite constellations and small, low-cost specialised satellites.
"This first formal agreement is a vital step toward possible future
co-operation in a variety of bilateral space ventures and other global
business opportunities," said Robert G. Minor, president of Rockwell's
Space Systems Division.
Two launch facilities, Baikonur in Kazakhstan and Plesetsk in Russia, are
currently used for Cyclone launch operations. The launcher has a flight
history of more than 200 launches and reached a reliability rate of 97
Yuzhnoye has more than 35 years of experience in designing and
manufacturing space hardware. Yuzhnoye products include spacecraft, rocket
engines, electrical power plants, trolley buses, tractors, cargo trailers
and agricultural products.
Rockwell is a diversified, high-technology company holding leadership
market positions in automation, avionics, semiconductor systems, aerospace,
defence electronics and automotive component systems, with annual
world-wide sales of $13 billion.

Delta III launches GALAXY X
GALAXY X will be the first satellite launched with the newly developed
Delta III rocket which maiden flight is scheduled for 1998. Hughes also
exercised an option for an additional Delta III launch in 1998. This brings
the total number of firm launches in the long-term Hughes
Electronics/McDonnell Douglas agreement to 11.
Galaxy X will be an HS 601HP built by Hughes Space and Communications
Company (HSC), the world's leading provider of commercial communications
satellites. Equipped with both C-band and Ku-band capacity, Galaxy X will
take the orbital position of Galaxy IX at 123W longitude. Galaxy IX will
then move to 127W. Galaxy IX customers migrating to Galaxy X after launch
include Viacom (with the west coast feeds of Showtime, Nickelodeon, The
Movie Channel and MTV) and the national feed of the Sundance Channel.
Delta III is a next-generation expendable launch vehicle being developed by
McDonnell Douglas to target the medium to intermediate payload range, where
market opportunities are expanding. Payload capacity for Delta III is 8,400
pounds to geosynchronous transfer orbit, more than twice the capability of
the Delta II. The most significant changes are a new single-engine,
cryogenically propelled upper stage and a larger fairing to house the
payload. The Delta III will be capable of launching Hughes' largest
satellites, including the HS 601 and the HS 702.
Hughes Communications: http:// www.hcisat.com/ 

Bertelsmann to join Kirch's DF1, newspaper says
The largest German media group, Bertelsmann AG, reportedly abandoned plans
for an own digital TV venture. Instead, it will join the rivalling digital
package DF1, the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung said. DF1, due to be
launched next Sunday, was set up by German media tycoon Leo Kirch.
Recently, Rupert Murdoch announced to take a 49 percent share in DF1.
A spokesman for Kirch confirmed talks with Bertelsmann but declined to give
further details. A Bertelsmann spokeswoman indicated that "there will be
some movement over the next weeks."
So far, observers expected the Kirch-Bertelsmann talks to hinge on subjects
like a common decoder (or at least a common interface) and the pay-TV
channel premiere in which both companies hold stakes. Süddeutsche Zeitung
says the deal will officially be announced next Friday.
During the last few days, there were also unconfirmed reports on new output
deals by Leo Kirch with Warner Brothers and MCA Universal. Both are said to
be worth DM2 billion (US$1.6 billion) each. With these deals, Kirch would
control the broadcast rights for six of the seven Hollywood majors in
German-speaking countries. According to news magazine Focus, Kirch has
spent DM8 billion (US$5.5 billion) on TV rights during the last six months.
(But don't expect any real information on these Web sites J

Frequency allocations probed by Italian prosecutors
Satellite TV is not a big business in Italy. The country is crammed with
terrestrial transmitters. The semi-legal nation-wide networks were
legalised in 1992 following a new media law, dubbed Legge Mammi after the
former post and telecommunications minister Oscar Mammi. Davide Giacalone,
of the ministerial officials responsible for main parts of the law later,
received lucrative consultancy contracts from Silvio Berlusconi's Fininvest
worth more than US$300,000.
The law now is now at the centre of an investigation carried out by Italian
prosecutors. They demanded trials for Mammi, Giacalone and more than 100
other people, including socialist ex-prime minister Bettino Craxi, a friend
of Berkusconi. Two important figures of Silvio Berlusconi's media empire
are also among them, one of them Adriano Galliani, president of Fininvest's
football (soccer) club AC Milan. Allegedly, TV networks paid bribes to
officials and politicians, including Craxi, to gain terrestrial television

EU commission examines Telefonica, Sogecable deal
The EU commission started probing a joint venture between Telefonica de
España and Sogecable SA, a joint venture of Canal Plus SA and Spain's
Promotora de Informaciones SA. 
Sogecable operates four Spanish pay-TV channels transmitted on ASTRA.
Telefonica is Spain's state telecommunications operator. Recently, a
national Spanish court forced Telefonica to suspend cable transmissions,
saying it may violate competition laws. 

Fox news may carry "infomercials"
The next all-news channel in the USA has announced it will launch on
October 7. It is, of course, Fox News -- Rupert Murdoch's answer to CNN,
which the media magnate considers to be too liberal. Fox News chairman
Roger Ailes, a well-known conservative TV professional, said the new
channel will feature more live news and produced programming than CNN or
MSNBC. He announced the channel may run so-called infomercials overnight to
generate revenue during the initial start-up phase.
Despite heavy bonus offers by Murdoch to cable operators, only 10 million
cable subscribers will be able to watch Fox News right from the start.
MSNBC, taking over the place of NBC's cable channel America's Talking,
reaches 22.5 million subscribers, while CNN can be watched by 68.5 million.
http://www.foxnews.com/ (So far, just a CNAME for www.fox.com)

Russian TV on Mongolia
So you thought Sat-ND was an Olympics-free zone? Not at all. As the Russian
news agency Itar-Tass reports, satellite coverage of the Atlanta Games have
caused a major uproar in Mongolia. During the opening ceremony, the
anchorman of Russia's state-run channel VGTRK remarked that "Mongolia is an
independent country as nothing depends on it" when the country's team
appeared in the stadium.
Russia's ambassador to Mongolia called this an "irresponsible remark" and
said "it would be correct if the editorial board apologises for the mistake
of its employee."
Mongolia, a country with 2.3 million inhabitants (1992) gained independence
from China in 1921. However, China recognised the country's independence
only 25 years later following a referendum.

Letterman stays until 2002 -- at least
David Letterman has extended his contract with CBS, meaning that his Late
Show will stay on the air at least until 2002. Letterman, whose talk show
has slipped behind NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" in the ratings,
earlier indicated he might be leaving the show in 1999.

Games list
Jürgen Stichler sent in two additions to the Atlanta Games transponder
TDRS 6 at 47 deg W: 4,120 GHz h NTSC feeds
Hispasat at 30 deg W: Two NTSC feeds in the lower KU-Band.
Thank you very much!

Phone over the net
It was a nice idea, but so far, it didn't really work. Of the several
million Internet users, only 30,000 are so far estimated to use special
software allowing phone calls. Nonetheless, Intel Corp. gives efforts to
abuse bandwidth another try. As from Wednesday, free phone software will
reportedly be available for download at the company's web site. It is said
to be based on a standard adopted by at least 120 companies, including
Microsoft Corp.

Satellite Topics
The new mail service "sat-topic," sponsored by Europe's Satellite Magazine
TELE-satellit, went into service yesterday. It offers discussion of latest
news, questions and answers to satellite problems. Subscribers'
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Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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