Sat-ND, 25.3.97

Sat-ND 97-03-25 - Satellite and Media News

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Arianespace and Eutelsat today announced the signing of a launch contract
for the EUTELSAT W3 communications satellite. With this latest order,
five Eutelsat satellites are now slated to be launched by Europe's Ariane
launcher: Hot Bird 3 during the summer of 1997; Hot Bird 4 in the fall of
1997; Hot Bird 5 in early 1998; W2 in the fall of 1998; and the latest,
W3, in the spring of 1999.
Built by Aérospatiale Espace et Défense at Cannes in southern France, W3
is the third in a family of new-generation communications satellites
developed to replace the EUTELSAT II series. Each EUTELSAT W is equipped
with 24 transponders [which doesn't sound too many nowadays, though 
Ed.] and provides telecommunications and TV distribution services
throughout Europe, the Mediterranean region and Central Asia. The
satellite weighs about 2,800 kg at lift-off, and offers sophisticated
transmission performance thanks to two steerable spotbeams and one fixed
This launch contract is the 168th signed by Arianespace since the
founding of the company in 1980. Arianespace has now 40 satellites on
order to be launched.

Russia is stepping up efforts in providing commercial launch services.
It looks as though Russia would turn a formerly secret testing ground for
strategic missiles into, well, a cosmodrome. Kapustin Yar, as the site
near the Caspian Sea is known, will be used to launch a lightweight
two-stage space rocket Cosmos-3M with a German astronomical satellite on
board. The February 1999 launch, which was unofficially announced today,
led to some confusion not only in the Russian Space Forces which run the
well-known Russian cosmodromes. 
Kapustin Yar, however, belongs to Russia's Strategic Missile Forces who
seem to be in need of some funding, too. The site will be used because
the satellite in question is to be put into a low-earth circular orbit
with an inclination of 51 degrees. Such launches cannot be performed from
the other Russian sites as the stages of the rockets would fall onto
populated areas. 
On the other hand, the Russian Space Forces claimed that Kapustin Yar was
not suitable for commercial launches because it was too close to
populated areas. "There are a lot of people who live in the zone where
the rocket stages fall," said spokesman Sergei Gorbunov. He warned that
the stages could even fall onto the territory of foreign states.

The Serbian state broadcaster RTS has announced that its satellite
channel RTS SAT is to move to the EUTELSAT II-F2 satellite (10 E). Until
now, it has been broadcasting on a half-transponder on the EUTELSAT
II-F4M (7E). RTS SAT has now taken a lease for a full transponder which
frequency is 11.658 GHz v. The signal quality is expected to be 3dB
stronger than the transponder on the previous satellite. Audio
subcarriers remain the same - 6.65 for TV audio and 7.02 MHz for Radio
Belgrade. The broadcast times will remain unchanged, that is 18:00-24:00
hrs, with the private channel TV Pink keeping its 12:00-18:00 hrs. slot
From March 25th till March 30th, RTS SAT will dual-illuminate from both
satellites, but a test signal on EUTELSAT II-F2 will be broadcast
according to the following schedule: March 25th - from 12:00 hrs March
26th/27th/28th - from 15:00 hrs. March 29th - from 12:00 hrs. During the
dual-illumination period, RTS SAT will broadcast the full program
schedule via the EUTELSAT II-F2 satellite, while its programs via
EUTELSAT II F4 will be available only between 18:00-20:30 hrs.
(Branislav Pekic)

Bloomberg LP will use Satcom C5 (104.8W) to distribute real-time
Bloomberg radio news programs via digitally. The company will use uplink
services of Musicam Express, while StarGuide II digital satellite
receivers will be installed at Bloomberg's nationwide network of
"The combined StarGuide Digital Networks/MUSICAM EXPRESS solution for
Bloomberg's programming distribution network provides a fault-tolerant
digital audio transmission via a redundant terrestrial backhaul link,
resulting in high data quality from source to end-user," both companies
said in a press release.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. reportedly is preparing another
billion-dollar deal. It's not quite that spectacular, but a billion still
is a billion. At least, it seems as though Mr. Murdoch may have the
opportunity to buy stakes in fifteen U.S. regional sports networks from
Liberty Media Group, a division of cable monolith Tele-Communications
Inc. Liberty has ownership interests in more than 90 cable television
networks, including CNN, Discovery Channel, TNT, QVC, The Family Channel.
It also owned Prime Sports which became Fox Sports in 1995 after a deal
with Mr Murdoch. However, Liberty kept its ownership stake back then.
Liberty's considerations to sell it may be connected to the strained
relationship to Mr Murdoch whose new partner, Mr Ergen from Echostar,
recently announced their digital satellite joint venture Sky was not
about complementing cable but about abolishing it. TCI officials weren't,
and still aren't, amused.

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

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