Sat-ND, 8.11.96

Sat-ND 96-11-08 - Satellite and Media News

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Golden Words
"It will take a huge investment, absolutely gigantic, but money is not in
short supply."
Microsoft's William H. ("Bill") Gates III about his company's future
Internet strategy

Arabsat orders BSS satellite
Arabsat, the satellite organisation of the Arab League, has signed a
contract with France's Aérospatiale for the construction of a new Direct
Broadcasting Satellite within two years. The spacecraft called ARABSAT
2-BSS1 will be used for broadcasting digital TV in the BSS band, using a
total of 6,200 Watts of power. It will reportedly be co-located with
ARABSAT 2A (26E) and 2B, which is yet to be launched. The satellite will
have an operational lifetime of 15 years.

Pegasus launch renders two satellites useless
There were a lot of contradicting reports regarding the two satellites
launched by a Pegasus rocket earlier this week (Sat-ND, 5.11.96.) However,
it now becomes increasingly clear that both satellites have to be accounted
a total loss.
At least the Argentinean spacecraft SAC-B's solar array has unfolded
(Sat-ND, 6.11.96,) but the satellite still is tumbling. Thus, the solar
panels didn't provide sufficient energy to keep the satellite's batteries
charged. NASA, which received the satellite's last signals on November 4,
said there was little hope of stabilising the spacecraft. It failed to
separate from the third stage of the Pegasus launcher. Attempts to
stabilise the satellite obviously soon drained the batteries' energy
resources, owing to the extra mass of the still attached Pegasus stage.
The second satellite, HETE (High Energy Transient Experiment), is designed
to automatically activate when sunlight hits its solar arrays. According to
its operators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that event is
highly unlikely since the satellite hasn't properly separated from the
launcher, either.

AlphaStar offers Egyptian programming
Egyptian satellite channels, some of them already known to an European
audience, will soon appear in the USA. AlphaStar Television Network Inc.
announced today that it will begin the launch of its multicultural
programming line-up on November 8th with the introduction of a three
channel package produced by the Egyptian Radio & Television Union in Cairo,
The direct broadcast service's so-called Arab culture package includes the
Egyptian Satellite Channel, a 24-hour news, information and entertainment
service; Nile Drama, which showcases premier movies and television serials;
and Nile TV, which offers English language programming, news, entertainment
and Egyptian movies with English subtitles. North American news of
particular interest to the Arabic community will also be covered.
The United States is home to an estimated five million Arabic speaking
individuals. The largest concentrations are in Southern California and the
Detroit metropolitan area, where the communities approximate 450,000
individuals. Satellite television offers the lowest cost method of
delivering culturally unique programming to such a dispersed group,
AlphaStar said in a news release.
But they will have to pay quite a lot of money to receive the three
channels: US$17.99 per month, and AlphaStar called that just an
"introductory rate." On the long run, it may even be cheaper to move to
Europe where ESC and Nile TV are broadcast free-to-air on EUTELSAT II-F3

Can this be true?
It all just sounds just too good to be true. Platforms floating in some 30
kilometres height above the earth, in a part of our atmosphere known as the
stratosphere, will provide major cities with Internet access (Sat-ND,
1.5.96.) Those platforms don't have to be launched, they just ascend to
their target altitude because they're filled with helium. Once they've
arrived, they just use solar energy to stay in position for up to ten years
with the help of an ion engine that doesn't even pollute the atmosphere in
any way. And when they're in need of refurbishment, the just come down
This is a technology that looks much, much more advanced than those silly
satellites that don't just produce an enormous pollution when launched with
bigger and bigger rockets. Satellites also continue orbiting the Earth once
they're burnt out, creating a growing belt of dangerous space junk
surrounding the Earth.
The concept of stratospheric platforms, developed by Sky Station Inc., is
just too good to be true. Things like that don't happen, do they? But
actually, several countries have in the meantime declared their interest in
this new technology that, in my opinion, shouldn't be used for Internet
access only but for broadcasting purposes as well.
But now for the facts. Sky Station International Inc. and Mekaster
Telematics and Archana Technology Resource Park Ltd. signed a preliminary
agreement to establish an Indian operations facility for a broadband
wireless Internet service using those telecommunications platforms in the
"I believe this is a great technology for India," said Alexander P. Haig,
President of Sky Station. (Should you ask yourself whether Mr Haig is a
former U.S. Secretary of State, the answer is yes. Finally, he's doing
something useful.) "With our stratospheric platforms India can quickly and
inexpensively offer broadband Internet and telephone service to its entire
Sky Station intends to commence deployment of stratospheric
telecommunication platforms from India by the year 2000 to provide vital
communication services to the entire Asian continent. The project envisages
deployment of at least one platform each month to meet the growing demand
in this region.
Each platform will inaugurate the first wireless broadband Internet service
-- including both telephone and videophone service -- to a new major
metropolitan area. User terminals are expected to cost no more than US$100
and to be available both as plug-compatible laptop and desktop computer
cards, or stand alone "stratus communicator" smart-phones.
http://www.skystation.com/ (Okay, their Web Site may not be too exciting,
but it's interesting anyway)

Monty Python's Déjà Vu sketch performed by Telesat Canada
Will there ever be a Canadian digital TV service at all?
The Canadian government has invited domestic companies to submit bids for
an orbital position assigned to Canada for direct broadcast satellites
(Sat-ND, 7.11.96.) Telesat Canada, the country's national satellite
communications company, today said it would respond "innovatively"
emphasising short-term solutions using capacity on its existing satellites.
(It seems they're after the "fast track" license promised to companies that
can provide satellite capacity.) 
''The government is looking for a plan that is backed by resources,
expertise, and the ability to act quickly to bring Canadians the benefits
of competition and choice. Telesat will put forward such a plan,'' the
company said in a press release.
Under a deal disapproved by the USA's Federal Communications Commission,
Telesat earlier wanted to buy two satellites from U.S. cable company TCI
and lease their capacity back to TCI. The cable giant would have mainly
targeted the USA as it failed to get hold of a domestic license. 

By Dr Sarmaz <DrSarmaz@aol.com>

Finally, Rupert Murdoch seems to have discovered the Internet. Australian
Internet service provider OzEmail Ltd. said last Wednesday it plans to link
up with pay-TV giant British Sky Broadcasting to create an
Internet-advertisement network on a global scale. (What else, Mr Murdoch
wouldn't care for anything less than a global scale.)
The service will be launched on December 3, delivering Internet ads
targeted at international, national or even regional audiences. The joint
venture, which is jointly funded by both OzEmail and BSkyB, however seems
to be no more than one of Mr Murdochs famous financing tricks (Sat-ND,
25.10.96/1.11.96.) OzEmail plans to issue BSkyB two-year options on two
million OzEmail shares at A$14 a share.
Malcolm Turnbull, OzEmail's chairman, and Mr Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth,
general manager of broadcasting for BSkyB, have been named co-chairmen of
the new joint venture.

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

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