Sat-ND, 11.9.96

Sat-ND 96-09-11 - Satellite and Media News

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This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
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Yesterday's Sat-ND was sent out three times instead of one. I don't know
why my mail programme did this although I definitely clicked on "New
Message" just once. (I still can count to three.) So, I'd like to apologise
on behalf of Microsoft Internet Mail and William Henry Gates III.


Ariane 4 launches ECHOSTAR 2
The next launch of a European Ariane-5 rocket will probably take not place
before next March. Officially, the action plan put into effect following
the recommendations of the ill-fated Flight 501 Inquiry Board and
"programme-planning repercussions" will be presented on Thursday, September
Meanwhile, Ariane 4 has proven its reliability again by putting Echostar's
second satellite into orbit yesterday. ECHOSTAR 2 was launched at 2101
local time from the European Space Centre in Kourou, French Guyana. The
spacecraft will complement ECHOSTAR 1 (119 W.) Using digital compression,
the ECHOSTAR system will offer up to 200 television channels for
direct-to-home reception.
The next flight, which will be the tenth for Ariane 4 this year, is slated
for Mid-October. 

Delta II to launch GPS satellite
A McDonnell Douglas Delta II is to launch GPS-II-27, a satellite for the
Global Positioning System, next Thursday within a 31-minute window opening
at 0449 EDT. (This should be something like 0849 UTC. Let's hope daylight
saving time is abolished very soon.)
Should anybody care: There will be a delayed broadcast of the launch
Thursday, Sept. 12, from 6:00-6:15 a.m. EDT on SPACENET 2 (69 W), 4.180
GHz v.

Chinese power failure
Chinese officials today said their Long March 3B rocket exploded seconds
after lift-off on February 15 because of a malfunction in the craft's
control system. "The fateful hiccup," as China's news agency Xinhua put it,
was "caused by the changes of inertial reference in the rocket's control
system." This, by the way, sounds just like the explanation for the
Ariane-5-disaster. The launcher's inertial reference systems went booboo
after noticing they weren't operating on an Ariane 4 but on a completely
new launcher with a totally different flight behaviour.
"Ironically, the inertial reference systems aren't needed for flight
operations at all. They just tell the computer where the rocket is before
lift-off. Usually, the systems stay switched on for some 40 seconds into
the flight. Otherwise, realigning the systems would take about an hour
should the countdown be halted shortly before launch." (Sat-ND, 23.7.96)
The Long March case is somehow different, though. The most likely reason
for the system's malfunction -- according to a spokesman for the China
Great Wall Industrial Corporation -- is a power failure in the "platform's
mobile cycle stable recirculating loop," whatever that may be.

JCSAT-5 ordered
Hughes Electronics Corp.'s Hughes Space & Communications International Inc.
unit signed a contract to supply Japan Satellite Systems Inc. of Tokyo with
a fifth communications satellite. JCSAT-5, based on the HS 601 platform,
will allow Japan Satellite to meet increased customer demand for multimedia
and Internet access, carrying voice, data and television signals to Japan,
the Asia-Pacific region and Hawaii. 
The satellite is scheduled for delivery in November 1997. Japan Satellite
will use a European Ariane carrier rocket for the launch.

No sex please, we're British (Daily Mail Mix)
It was a story I regarded just too boring to include in this daily blend of
media, malfunction, malevolence and mad cows, known as Sat-ND. The European
Court of Justice yesterday ruled that the UK was breaking EU law governing
the way satellite TV is broadcast. So what?
I underestimated the British tabloid press. Even a boring judgement like
that can still be turned into "Europe Orders Britain to Let in Porn." The
Daily Mail announced that the Court had given "continental TV pornographers
the right to flood Britain with a tide of filth" and called to challenge
the EU's treaty. Ha, ha.
Indeed, it was just the other way round. The European Commission, which
initiated the case, complained that Britain had _refused_ to regulate the
controversial (and long gone) porn channel Red Hot TV, whose parent company
was British, because it was beamed from the continent. But never mind the
details. The bottom line is that jurisdiction now is determined by the
place in which the broadcaster has its headquarters, and not where the
uplink is.
The UK's current licensing system for foreign satellite channel companies
"constitutes a serious obstacle to the free movement of broadcasts", said
the judges. Quite funny, as the UK is known to grant satellite licenses for
almost any kind of TV service as far as it's not of an adult nature. The
Kurdish Med-TV, headquartered in Belgium and beaming to Turkey, may be the
best-known example for this kind of policy.
A spokesman at the Department of National Heritage, which is in charge of
broadcasting in the UK, said the judgement was a technical one. "We do not
seek to and never have sought to prevent anyone broadcasting from another
country. What we do, however, is to prevent the sale of decoders, smart
cards and other descrambling devices in this country.
"We make it unlawful to sell these devices and we are thereby preventing
people from receiving such broadcasts rather than preventing people from
transmitting them."
The European Commission pointed out its "Television without frontiers" law
specifically exempted "offensive programme material, such as pornography or
gratuitous violence," although many (most?) established commercial channels
in Europe offer just that -- although definitely more violence than
anything else.
Grandpa Zheng has interesting links for British Euro-sceptics. Just read

A message to anyone who still watches TV
MTV will start broadcasting on Thursday the 12 of September at 11,679 GHz h
on INTELSAT 707.
Transmissions on the "new" transponder will begin at 1400. [Choose a time
zone ;-) -- Ed.]
Richard Karlsson <richard@gotlandica.se> 

Zeroes and ones
By Grandpa Zheng, who has suffered a hard disk crash today. Fortunately, it
was just the less important of his two drives. But that's why he appears
here today instead of working on his zheng-o-rama web pages.

EU shatters myths
The European Union is really concerned about their member state United
Kingdom. There's a host of "Euro horror stories that crop up so frequently
in the press, especially the British one: no more cheddar cheese, prawn
cocktail crisps, doorstop deliveries of milk, even the Queen as head of
State is under threat with the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty!"
Forget about your tabloid papers, read this:

"...not large enough to house British assets"?
I have to admit that I don't believe everything they say there. My
favourite is this: "Brussels is set to produce a standard Euro condom,
whilst refusing to implement the subsidiarity principle so that Member
States can take into account the different national characteristics of the
male organ."
No comment on that, although the response is that "any standardisation work
in the area of condoms concentrates on quality and not on length."
Really? German press reports suggest that the length of domestic condoms
was actually increased from 16 to 17 cm following EU regulation.

19th Internet breakdown
It's study time again. International Data Corp. expects the number of
connections to the World Wide Web to reach 30 million computers (or nearly
35 million users) world-wide. By 2000, the company expects 233 million
devices connected to the Web, while just 163 million users will be
connected. In other words, users are expected to link up to 'Net using
various devices such as PCs, TV sets, and others. More than half of all
installed PCs world-wide, and three quarters of those in the US, will be on
the Web.
ROFL. Even if this was going to happen, users would throw their equipment
out of the window because they couldn't connect to anybody. It becomes
clearer every day that there is no way of boosting transmission capacity on
the ailing Internet soon, and even if there was: Who's gonna pay for it?
Just forget it.

There are some 85 entries in Yahoo's web catalogue concerning WWW search
engines. One of them now offers a "personalized" version that promises to
deliver news, sports, stock quotes and weather, drawing from over 300
selected Web sites based on user preferences. And guess whether your
preferences will be used to deliver loads of commercial spam to you. Just
say NO to cookies!

Tired of all those *.com URLs? Well, I'm constantly in search of more or
less exotic places on the World Wide Web. Here's one: The West African
state of Benin has gone online. Albert Tevoedjre, minister of planning,
economic restructuring and job promotion, said the country was trying "to
keep pace with the rest of the world and find opportunities for developing
our country."

A US citizen who allegedly used hidden cameras to videotape women changing
in locker rooms, showering or using bathrooms has been barred from selling
the videos, officials said Wednesday. The videos were advertised for US$26
each on a WWW page, so far accessed 528 times. Massachusetts Attorney
General Scott Harshbarger said the material was "sleazy garbage" as well as
"disgraceful and offensive." YES!
(No, I don't know the URL)

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

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