Sat-ND, 1.3.97

Sat-ND 97-03-01 - Satellite and Media News

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Yesterday, I tried to send Sat-ND three times using two different
providers. As far as I can see, nothing went out though. I apologise on
behalf of those providers :-((
I do not know what has happened, so I am not going to resend that issue
of Sat-ND -- it may possibly still turn up. If you're interested, you
can catch it in rec.video.satellite.europe or alt.satellite.tv.europe
because posting to newsgroups did work yesterday. -- Ed.

PS: It didn't work today, either! I'm trying a third provider now. If
you get any of these issues twice or thrice, please keep in mind that
it's not my fault. It really makes me wanna puke my guts out!!


Arianespace successfully launched INTELSAT 801, the first in the new
generation of satellites operated by the International
Telecommunications Satellite Organisation that is also known as
Flight 94 was carried out by an Ariane 44P, the version of the European
launcher with four solid-propellant strap-on boosters. However, the
lift-off was delayed by high winds and finally took place just three
minutes before the launch window closed. The satellite separated from
the launch vehicle twenty minutes later and entered its geostationary
transfer orbit.
Arianespace Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Francis
Avanzi noted that the European launch provider had now lifted more than
55 tons into orbit for Intelsat (17 satellites, that is.) 
The INTELSAT 801 satellite is based on the first in a new series of
platforms designed to provide more powerful and higher capacity C-band
communications services. Built by Lockheed Martin Telecommunications, it
offers a number of technical innovations, including two steerable C-band
spotbeams, interconnection between the C and Ku-bands, satellite
newsgathering (SNG) service, and compatibility with series VII and VIIA
INTELSAT 801 weighed 3,420 kg (7,524 lb) at lift-off. It provides a
capacity of three TV channels, 22,500 telephone circuits, and up to
112,500 digital telephone circuits.
Following Flight 94, Arianespace has now 39 satellites on order to be
launched. The next launch, Flight 95, is scheduled for April 11. An
Ariane 44LP will be used to place THAICOM 3 and BSAT-1A into orbit.
THAICOM 3 will, as reported earlier, not only serve Thailand but also
carry an Indian digital TV bouquet. BSAT-1A will provide Japan with
direct broadcast services.

The danger for Russia's space programme to suffer another setback became
imminent today when a regional government revolted against rocket
launches from a new space centre.
Unless you happen to live there, you probably have never heard of a
Russian region called Yakutia before. It has a regional government
though, which strongly opposes the launching of rockets from Russia's
new Svobodny cosmodrome in the Amur region. 
Just a few days before the inaugural launch, Yakutia's deputy prime
minister Yegor Borisov told a press conference he doubted "the
environmental and technical safety of the launched rocket." So far,
Russia had been unable to convince him of the contrary even though
Svobodny officials went to Yakutsk, Yakutia's capitol, a few days ago in
order to do so.
The problem is not that the burnt-out stages of the Start-1 rockets will
plunge back onto Yakutian territory; in fact, the regional government
had agreed to that under a 1996 contract with the Russian Defence
Nonetheless, Yakutia today warned Moscow it would cancel the agreement
should Russia launch the ZEYA satellite on March 4 or 5 as planned.
Of course, it's different to tell from a distance whether they have a
different calendar in Yakutia (April Fool's Day is _next_ month,)
whether there are real dangers involved with Start-1 launches, or
whether Yakutia is just trying to squeeze some more money out of its
deal with Moscow.

From today, EuroSport does no longer exist in its original form in the
south of Belgium. EuroSport France (ESF) and RTBF Sports are from now on
part of 'EuroSport 21'. The channel carries only a few hours of RTBF
Sports a day, the rest is filled by ESF. EuroSport 21 is only available
on cable, not on satellite(?) or terrestrial TV. 
The second RTBF channel, previously called RTBF21, now appears as RTBF
La 2, carrying just entertainment, cartoons, movies, events and reruns.
(Jos Nijs)
[Thank you very much for this update! -- Ed.]

When any kind of new radio service is marketed, the attribute "CD
quality" is a must. As far as digitally compressed signals are involved,
nothing could be farther from the truth, but in this case it actually
doesn't matter too much. 
The four members of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
seem to have resolved their differences over the introduction of a
coast-to-coast digital radio service called DARS (Digital Audio Radio
It's not official yet, but a statement is expected on Monday. In the
past, the FCC members were divided over the question whether the auction
of the two available licences should be open limited to four companies
that have applied so far (CD Radio Inc.; American Mobile Radio Corp., a
unit of American Mobile Satellite Corp.; Digital Broadcast Satellite
Corp.; and Primosphere.)
The fraction which is favouring a limited auction seems to have
prevailed even though an open auction would probably have raised more
money. Bidding is now expected to be held by mid-April. 
Apart from those regulatory issues, DARS will probably be
subscription-based. Although being broadcast via satellite, the two
services' main audience is expected to be found in cars once the
technology is available. (That also explains the previously unexplained
headline "Dars for Cars" in Sat-ND, 24.2.97. Too strange nobody
complained about it. Do you actually read this stuff?) 
Of course, you won't be able to tell compressed from uncompressed
broadcasts in an environment like a car unless you use headphones which
you are strongly advised not to do anyway. In any case, listeners will
have to buy a special radio and antenna.

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

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