Sat-ND, 6.9.96

Sat-ND 96-09-06 -- Satellite and Media News

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Hughes Electronics goes global, part II
According to The Wall Street Journal, Hughes Electronics Corp., does not
only want to buy satellite operator PanAmSat (Sat-ND, 5.9.96.) There are
also negotiations underway for a billion-dollar deal with one of the
world's leading subscription television providers.
The newspaper reported there were "serious talks" to take over about a
third of NetHold, a Netherlands-based company operating pay-TV services in
Europe (e.g. FilmNet,) the Middle East and Africa. Neither the PanAmSat nor
the NetHold deal are complete yet. But observers point out that they could
enable Hughes to compete with major players such as Intelsat or Rupert
Murdoch's News Corp. Unlike these two, Hughes/PanAmSat/NetHold would be
able to offer general transmission as well as pay-TV services on a global

* NetHold Info
NetHold is mainly controlled by South-African investors, among them
Richemont which holds a 50 percent stake. Based in Switzerland, Richemont's
other operations include the Vendome luxury group as well as the Rothmans
International cigarette group (Rothmans, Peter Stuyvesant, Dunhill, etc.)
Richemont is the international business arm of the Rembrandt Group, owned
by the family empire of businessman Anton Rupert. Rembrandt is the
fourth-largest group of companies in South Africa.

* PanAmSat Info
The company currently operates a global four-satellite system: PAS-1 and
PAS-3 over the Atlantic Ocean Region; PAS-2 over the Pacific Ocean Region;
and PAS-4 over the Indian Ocean Region. PanAmSat plans to launch four
additional satellites by early 1998, which will enable the company to
operate multiple satellites in each ocean region worldwide. The next launch
will deploy the PAS-6 satellite over the Atlantic Ocean Region in December

* Hughes Electronics Info
Hughes Electronics is a subsidiary of General Motors. Hughes Space and
Communications Co., a unit of Hughes Electronics Corp., is the world's
leading manufacturer of commercial communications satellites, having built
more than 40 percent of those in operation. Hughes also operates own
satellites, the most important being GALAXY and DBS.

Russia lifts INMARSAT into orbit
Russia today successfully launched a satellite for the international
telecommunications organisation Inmarsat from the Baikonur cosmodrome in
Kazakhstan. It was the second of 20 commercial satellite launches to be
carried out until 2000 under an agreement between Russia's Khrunichev Space
Centre and the U.S.-backed joint venture International Launch Services
(ILS). The first launch, of course, was ASTRA 1F. Both times, a Proton
carrier rocket was used.

Lockheed to pump up satellite output
Lockheed Martin announced it was moving aggressively to meet the explosive
demand for space-based information and services. At Missiles & Space in
Sunnyvale, California, renovations are well underway on a "factory of the
future" that aims to be the largest, most efficient commercial satellite
manufacturing plant in the industry. At initial operating capacity, the
facility will be able to produce eight satellites a year and ultimately
will be able to accommodate up to 16 satellites a year. 
The facility was designed for the A2100 commercial satellite business
transferring from East Windsor, New Jersey. The modular or "building block"
design of the A2100 allows the spacecraft to be configured to customers'
specific needs, adding and changing components as required and avoiding the
cost and risk of new design developments. The design also uses 20 percent
fewer parts than earlier satellites, resulting in lower cost and faster
cycle time.
Missiles & Space also said it was leveraging its experience in satellite
development and production to meet the demand for rapid-production, high
quality commercial spacecraft for low Earth orbit (LEO). The company is
building 125 LEO satellite buses for Motorola's Iridium project, which will
provide mobile telecommunications services virtually around the world. The
Iridium satellite bus is based on the company's LM700 design. 
"What the Model T did for the automobile, the LM700 does for satellites, "
said Manny Dimiceli, LM700 program director. "Because this bus is mass
produced, the cost per unit is very low comparatively, making it the lowest
cost satellite in its class in the industry." 
The company is also producing two remote sensing satellites based on its
LM900 design for Space Imaging Inc., of Thornton, Colorado. The LM900
combines proven low-Earth-orbit designed hardware and software with an
ultra-stable platform, specially built for the exacting requirements of
remote sensing. Space Imaging will provide high resolution imagery of the
Earth to commercial customers world-wide. 
The LM700 and LM900 satellites may be configured to fit many launch
vehicles, but are offered as a package with the Lockheed Martin Launch
Vehicles (LMLVs). The LMLV family is designed for low-Earth-orbit payloads
such as the ones to be flown on the LM700 and the LM900. 
"We intend to be the primary provider of reasonable priced satellites in a
very competitive market and will continue to take every possible step to
ensure short-cycle time, rapid response and cost savings for our
customers," said Missiles & Space President Sam Araki. 

Zeroes and ones
By Grandpa Zheng

Sensitive teenagers
Now, what exactly do we make of this? Australian researchers have found
that teenagers use the Internet more than adults while at the same time
being worried about the impacts of modern communications technologies.
"These teens perceive [they] would lead to the inevitable breakdown of
society as we know it," said Dr Singh, one of the researchers at the Centre
for International Research on Communication and Information Technologies.
As usual when it comes to the Internet, the results are by no means
representative. The small-scale study consists of interviews with just 33
persons, seven of them teenagers.
Nonetheless, those glorious seven had quite a lot of funny ideas.
Increasing use of  technology would make people housebound as they would no
longer need to go out, said Urwin (16) who fears that people "will probably
become very narrow-minded." And Veruna (14) thinks that "there are actually
going to be more wars because people can't communicate." Researchers in
Britain have come to a similar conclusion: Young computer users were more
frightened of new technology than their parents.
Well, using the Internet certainly does not narrow your mind, neither will
it start any war. Politicians do that, not people -- but I won't elaborate
on the subject of air strikes against Iraq as being part of somebody's
re-election campaign.
"Those adults who are more familiar with the Internet are more positive
about the future than those who have had little experience. What is clear
is that further research needs to be done to determine what makes
teenagers' attitudes so different at times from the attitude of their
parents," said Dr Singh.
Let's put this straight: Anybody who surfs the Web for three to four hours
a day instead of watching TV over the same period of time (which still is
what most people in Western societies do,) certainly is more active. He or
she might even be better informed, but in any case should gain a broader
perspective than anybody could get from staring into the tube, drinking
beer, munching crisps and adoring the USA's effort to sustain the free flow
of oil. Belch.

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

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