Sat-ND, 20.11.96

Sat-ND 96-11-20 - Satellite and Media News

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Golden Words
"French Guiana has had enough of being behind in development. [It is]
simultaneously institutionally a first world country and at the same time a
third world country in many respects. We continue to launch rockets in the
background of slums. It is unacceptable." Antoine Karam, President of
French Guiana's Regional Council (cf. Sat-ND, 14.11.96)

What Bird?
Tomorrow, it's Euronews time again in case you'd like to watch the Atlas
carrier rocket with Hot Bird 2 on board go up (or not.) According to
EUTELSAT, Hot Bird 2 is now scheduled for launch on November 21 from Cape
Canaveral, one day earlier than previously announced. The satellite will be
launched from Complex 36B on November 21 at the opening of a 69-minute
launch window that extends from 15.47 to 16.56 EST (20.47 to 21.56 GMT).
To be honest: I don't have any official confirmation about the launch being
shown on Euronews. In the U.S., the launch will be transmitted on Galaxy
6/14. Anyway, there's also a Web Site that carries pictures from the Atlas
Launch Complex at Kennedy Space Center. Unfortunately, the stills are
updated in 90 second-intervals only.

Lockheed moves business
Opening ceremonies at the largest plant in the commercial satellite
industry were conducted today at the Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space's
Sunnyvale facility which will produce spacecraft for Lockheed Martin
Telecommunications. The company's push to lead the global
telecommunications market is based on the combined 40-year experience of
space industry pioneers that are now combined in the new Lockheed Martin:
Lockheed, Martin Marietta, GE Aerospace and RCA. This rich heritage covers
satellites for commercial, defence and civil government markets that have
spanned the history of the space age, the company said in a press release.
The 158,000-square-foot centre will house A2100 commercial satellite
operations being transferred to Sunnyvale from a Lockheed Martin plant in
East Windsor, N.J. The new US$65 million facility - originally scheduled to
take 30 months to complete - is now finished after just 12 months. 
Among the features that distinguish the new facility is a new
85,000-square-foot, Class 100,000 clean room - about the size of two
football [no, not soccer!] fields. (Class 100,000 means that there can be
no more than 100,000 particles per cubic meter of air, each not exceeding
0.5 microns in size - about 80 times smaller than the diameter of human
The facility will initially have the capability to produce eight satellites
a year - and ultimately will accommodate up to 16 a year. Time from order
to delivery will be cut from the 24-month industry standard to 18 months
during the initial phase of operations, and eventually shrink to 12 months,
according to Lockheed.
The facility was designed for the A2100 commercial satellite which "modular
design allows it to be configured to customers' specific needs, changing
components as required and avoiding the cost and risk of new design
developments," said Mike Henshaw, president of Lockheed Martin Missiles &
Space. "The design also uses 20% fewer parts than earlier satellites,
resulting in lower cost and faster cycle time." 
Said Russ McFall, president of Lockheed Martin Telecommunications: "We
already have a solid backlog and are proving that we can move a business
nearly 3,000 miles without missing a beat in our dedication to mission

Brazil takes to space
Brazil is poised to enter the club of countries with indigenous satellite
launchers. Following a 23-year research effort, the first official launch
of the country's VLS-1 vehicle is scheduled to take place from the
Alcantara launching centre in the northern state of Maranhao between
February and April 1997. The announcement comes after the Aerospace
Technical Centre of Brazil's Aviation Ministry performed a test on some of
the rocket's parts last Monday.

Malaysian Government Movies (MGM)
As a U.S. company, what do you do when you've been showing your 1,600
movies on domestic TV channels again and again for centuries? You discover
that "A repeat is only a repeat if you have seen it before," as Gary
Marenzi, president of MGM/UA Telecommunications Group, did. 
MGM yesterday officially launched its 24-hour channel MGM Gold for Asia
that has been testing on MEASAT since November 1. At the same time, MGM
announced it had reached cable distribution agreements in Hong Kong,
Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia. While revenues will initially come from
subscribers, MGM Gold also hopes to make some money with advertising.
Recycling aged software is not quite as simple as it seems, though. Before
beaming movies such as "West Side Story" and "Rocky" into Asian homes, they
will have to be censored to make them suitable for the region with its
well-know cultural sensitivities. MGM Gold said it would comply with
toughest censorship standards: each movie has to be approved by Malaysian
government censors.

One Europe?
It is about time the broadcasting companies will be much more aware that we
should be one Europe. A person in the Netherlands should be able to get a
subscription for Sky etc.
The reason that they can't do it now is due to the royalties they have to
pay for the programs. It is time that the base of this fee will change from
territory to number of viewers.
So we won't have crazy things like receivers changing their specs
automatically after the consumer bought(!) it without being able to do
something about it. 
Looking with a professional eye to the current digital receiver market it
looks more like a grown-up playground. These guys can't be serious in what
they are doing? Can they?
(Gerard van Eldik)
[Gerard, thanks for your comment. I think those guys are very serious when
it comes to money, whether they sell TV software or worthless digital
receivers. Splitting up the European market into languages zones is, of
course, a habit that has developed in a natural way long before satellite
TV was even thought of. But this model obviously turned out to be more
profitable than any other one. It will even be used for other media such as
the Digital Video Disc (DVD) that will incorporate measures to prevent a
U.S. disc from being viewed in Europe and vice versa (Sat-ND, 14.11.96.)
Consumers won't have the power to change this. Maybe EU legislation could
do so, but as far as I know, legislative efforts to make pay-TV become a
really pan-European market have more or less collapsed. If anybody is able
to correct me in this point, I'd be more than happy! -- Ed.]

By Dr Sarmaz <DrSarmaz@aol.com>

PAS 6 delayed?
Latin America will have to wait just a few months more before the region
will become part of Rupert Murdoch's global pay-TV empire. The launch of
the PAS-6 satellite, which originally was scheduled for mid-November,
Reportedly was postponed to next March or even April. A News Corp.
spokesperson said the delay would "not significantly alter our operational
plans or have any effect on our upcoming launch in Mexico and other Latin
American and Caribbean basin territories."
PAS 6, a Ku-band satellite with 36 transponders, has a contract with
European launch provider Arianespace. From an orbital position at 43W, it
will provide Latin America with Direct Broadcast Satellite services such as
Sky Entertainment Services, owned by a consortium of companies led by Mr
Murdoch's News Corp.

Zeroes and Ones
By Grandpa Zheng <http://www.sat-net.com/pck/zheng/>

Ground control to Major Tom
Space enthusiasts will be able to eavesdrop on communications between space
shuttles and NASA ground control on the World Wide Web. This even applies
to the current STS-80 mission of space shuttle Columbia. From 1997, live
MIR station audio coverage will also be made available (better learn some
Russian now.) 

Euro Search
Igor Uvodic has informed me of a "public beta" of a new search engine
dedicated to the European part of the World Wide Web. It has been available
for quite some time now, he writes, offering services in 24 European
That's charming. Is it? What seems to be an advantage, the restriction of
search results to European domains, may not be such a brilliant idea at
all. Contrary to common belief, domains such as com, net and edu are not
reserved to be used by U.S. entities only.
On the other hand: Some U.S. search engines are known not to handle
diacritic signs, part of almost any European language, correctly. So, if
you have some research to do in your own (European) language and maybe even
deliberately want to narrow the scope of your search, you might want to
give it a try:

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

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