Sat-ND, 20.2.97

Sat-ND 97-02-20 - Satellite and Media News (to Brahmsian Tunes)

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It's almost 40 years ago that the first artificial satellite was launched into
orbit, and as it seems, the anniversary will not go unnoticed.
On October 4, 1957, a small metal capsule with some metal spikes peeking out
was put into orbit. It did not supply any TV channels but instead just kept on
beeping "The East is Red" in Morse code (or something like that.) By doing so,
it enabled at least some propagation and ionospherical studies -- but not for
too long. Its name, of course, was Sputnik 1.
The whole thing is going to happen again, although rather symbolically. Junior
High School students from the French Indian Ocean island of La Réunion and the
Russian city of Naltchik today agreed to build a Sputnik 1 replica. It will not
measure 58 centimetres in diameter like the original but just a third of it,
nevertheless it will still work. The radio transmitter will be supplied by the
French students while their Russian partners will built the satellite model.
Unlike 40 years ago, its not an SS-6 rocket that will be used to launch the
satellite. Instead, it will be flown up to Russia's MIR space station and
placed in orbit by a cosmonaut on October 4.

Steve Bennett from Dukinfield, Greater Manchester (UK) still hasn't found the
remainders of his Lexx-rocket he launched a few days ago (Sat-ND, 18.2.97.)
Julian Wasilowski has informed me that Mr Bennett is now offering a 500 reward
for the return of the missing rocket. Thank you very much! Who knows -- maybe
the rocket was a bit more powerful than expected, so you may want have a closer
look at what lies around in your garden.

The United Nations is preparing a third conference on the exploration and
peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE III.) This is not as boring as it may
sound because the conference will tackle some hot issues such as space debris,
a problem that was virtually non-existent when the last conference of this kind
was held in Vienna 1982. UNISPACE III is expected to take place in 1999 or
2000, lasting ten days. 
The orbital debris inventory continues to grow and with it the dangers of
collisions with spacecraft, space stations, satellites such as the Hubble Space
Telescope and even space mission crew members engaged in "space walks".
Thirty-five years of human activity in outer space have caused an estimated
70,000 observable or trackable pieces of debris in space, plus innumerable high
speed particles which constitute a potential threat to personnel and equipment.

A special symposium on space systems for direct broadcasting and global
information systems will be a highlight of the first week of the session.
Emphasis will also be put on Satellite Remote Sensing. 
Besides, UNISPACE III is seen as a valuable forum for critical evaluation of
space activities, and for raising public awareness of the benefits of space

Malaysia has already launched two broadcast satellites, MEASAT 1 and 2.
However, they were built by foreign companies. It won't be different with the
country's first micro-satellite -- it will be built in Surrey, UK. The
50-kilogram research satellite (which is, by the way, less than the weight of
SPUTNIK 1) will be launched with the help of the Russian Space Agency from the
cosmodrome in Bajkonur, Kazakhstan, which interestingly enough was being
referred to as "Russian cosmodrome" in a news item by the Russian news agency
Itar-Tass. (No, dear colleagues, it's neither Russian nor Soviet.) 
The apparently yet unnamed spacecraft nonetheless is the first satellite
produced with the participation of Malaysian experts. The government has formed
a wholly government-owned company to manage, operate and monitor the
US$12-million micro-satellite which will serve telecommunications, remote
sensing, and aerospace technology purposes. In case you're in need for an
"affordable access to space":

A military TV station from Myanmar (the country formerly known as Burma) will
lease a transponder from the Asia Satellite Telecommunication Co Ltd of Hong
Kong to extend its regular services. Myawaddy TV will use a transponder of
ASIASAT 2 (100.5E) for its services that were so far broadcast via ASIASAT 1

Although satellite in the UK means more or less pay TV, it has grown to an
amount that makes losses in terrestrial stations' market shares inevitable. But
some suffer more than others, a new report claims. 
"The loss of share by terrestrial channels is to be expected. However, of
concern to advertisers and their agencies is the fact that satellite and cable
appear to be taking most of their share of viewing from ITV." This conclusion
is drawn by a report commissioned by the Institute of Practitioners in
Advertising (IPA.) It claims that ITV has lost about 5 percent of its viewing
share over the last four years while stations such as BBC 1 and Channel 4
managed to keep their overall audience figures. 
The IPA report shows steady growth in satellite and cable viewing from 5
percent in March 1993 to 10.7 percent for the last three months of 1996. But
there will be even more competition when Channel 5 will be launched on March
30. The station hopes for a 5 percent audience share by the end of this year.
Channel 5 welcomed the report's findings, announcing it would "appeal to those
viewers who have switched to Sky."
ITV is fighting back, of course, claiming they still outstrip "all three
[existing terrestrial] channels in peak time. We took more than a 40 percent
share in 1996 and continue to do so in 1997."

[Usually, I don't miss any opportunity to put off professionals from reading
this so-called newsletter. As an exception, here's an announcement that might
be of interest to them. -- Ed.]
The Directorate of the Intersputnik International Organisation has the pleasure
to invite you to attend the forthcoming 7th Traffic meeting to be held in
Havana City, Cuba from April 7th (arrival) to April 12th (departure), 1997.
Intersputnik will be presenting the following topics and conducting discussions
with delegates in a workshop format:
1 - The Directorate's information on the Intersputnik System: development of
traffic, space and ground facilities, tariffs, routing opportunities, etc.
2 - Co-ordination of requirements for the utilisation of Intersputnik space
segment capacity for 1997-2002.
3 - The Directorate's information on "Intersputnik beyond 2001", Intersputnik
next generation of satellites and preliminary co-ordination for utilisation of
these satellites' capacity.
Either your participation or the participation of your colleagues in this event
will enable your company to explore the world of Intersputnik, to look at new
alternatives for satellite communications and to meet distinguished colleagues
from the telecommunications companies and industries of Latin America and world
Please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Hornedo Rodriguez, Intersputnik Marketing
Manager, fax: +7 095 253 99 06, phone: +7 095 241 02 66 for application forms
and additional information. 

Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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