Sat-ND 97-06-16 - Monday Bloody Monday (I don't like Mondays)
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* ILS: MORE LAUNCH ORDERS THAN ARIANESPACE?
* GOODBYE GORIZONT
* ZOMER TV WITH BELGIUM
* RUTTING RITUALS
* PRESS REVIEW
*** Sat-ND summer break: June 24 - July 9, 1997 ***
ILS: MORE LAUNCH ORDERS THAN ARIANESPACE?
International Launch Services (ILS), the joint venture that markets the
U.S. Atlas rocket and the Russian Proton, claims it now commands at least
half of the space launch business. ILS officials said there were now 49
satellites to be launched, 29 with Atlas and 20 with Proton rockets. Those
launch orders were worth more than US$3 billion. All this would, of course,
mean that ILS would have at least equalled the current market leader, the
European consortium Arianespace which has 42 launches in its order book,
worth US$3.4 billion.
Arianespace president Charles Bigot thinks the ILS announcement doesn't
live up to the facts. "If we calculated our launch backload the same way as
our competitors we would have over 60 launches on schedule. What they call
a firm contract we would consider an option," he complained.
[The following press release issued today by the Russian Satellite
Communications Company is a bit obscure. In fact, it's more than just a bit
obscure. I just can't relate to it. If any of you has an idea about who's
_really_ going to build those GORIZONT replacements, please drop me a line.
Anyway, this seems to have nothing(?) to do with the recent announcement of
the creation of Lockheed Martin Intersputnik even though Intersputnik
utilises GORIZONT satellites. On the contrary, this might be a countermove
as it includes Lockheed-Martin rival Hughes Space and Communications. Er...
they haven't announced a merger yet, have they?]
The Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) announced today that it
has signed joint agreements with U.S. Russian Telecommunications, LLC
(USRT) of Atlanta, Georgia and Hughes Space and Communications
International, Inc. of Los Angeles, California, that could [yes, the press
release actually says "could"] lead to the replacement of three ageing
GORIZONT satellites operating in the 53 degrees East, 90 degrees East, and
103 degrees East orbital slots covering the Russian heartland, the adjacent
states of the Russian Federation, much of the Pacific Rim, India, Africa,
the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Western Europe.
This unprecedented five-party Memorandum of Understanding, in addition to
RSCC, USRT and Hughes, includes InSpace Corporation and
Nauchno-Proizvodstvennoe Obiedinenie Prikladnoi Mekhaniki (NPO PM) and has
been endorsed by the Russian government. According to Dr. Boris Chirkov,
Deputy Director General of RSCC, the commercial involvement with U.S.
companies allows Russia to participate in the modern satellite
communications technology of both countries as well as the ability to
participate in the global commercial opportunities that exist utilising
RSCC will make available the orbital slots and launch services beginning in
1998 with the replacement of the satellite now operating in the 53 degree
East location. It is anticipated that each of the new satellites will offer
42 to 48 transponders both in C-band and Ku-band frequency and that all
three satellites will be in orbit and operational by 2001.
Dr. Chirkov further added that all parties involved in the project are
confident in the success of this venture and in the opportunities that
exist to exploit some of the world's most reliable, modern communications
technology. This program is conducted under co-ordination of the Russian
Space Agency and the Russian Ministry of Communication. A formal contract
is expected to be signed by mid-summer, 1997.
ZOMER TV WITH BELGIUM
Today several Belgian newspapers report on the expansion of Zomer TV. Zomer
TV started previous summer as an experimental TV service by the
international broadcaster Radio Nederland Wereldomroep. Initially they
hoped to reach 100,000 viewers but actually attracted some 500,000 viewers
Zomer TV will be back from the July 1 until September 30, and it will use
transponder 58 in analogue unencrypted PAL on Astra. There will be daily
transmissions from 7p.m. until midnight CET.
However, the big news is that the Belgian public broadcaster BRTN joins
forces with the Dutch broadcaster. BRTN contributions for Zomer TV include
the 'Laatavondjournaal' (late night news) (Daily),'Tik Tak' (for
children)(Daily), 'Vlaanderen Vakantieland' (holiday magazine)(Weekly) and
on the 21st of July (National Holiday in Belgium) you can watch the appeal
from His Royal Highness King Albert II to all his servants.
Again the success of Zomer TV will be evaluated, which could mean that
Zomer TV is here to stay.
DIGITAL MATING RITUALS
German media companies Bertelsmann and Kirch group have dismissed recent
press reports about an imminent joint digital pay-TV venture as "mere
speculation." They confirmed that talks were going on while at the same
time pointing out that there was neither an agreement nor even a date by
which such an agreement could be reached.
Today, news magazine Der Spiegel reported that both companies were aiming
at a setting up a joint digital TV monopoly in Germany under the roof of
premiere, the country's only pay-TV channel so far. Both would own 50
percent of the new company, which means that they have to buy out France's
Canal+ which to date holds a 37.5-percent stake (Bertelsmann: 37.5 percent,
Kirch: 25 percent.) The deal, Der Spiegel said, could be announced by as
A Bertelsmann spokesman confirmed "very intensive" talks over the digital
future of premiere which had been carried out for more than a year. He said
that is was completely unclear whether an agreement could be reached by
June 22, adding that any deal would in addition be subject to investigation
by the German Kartellamt (monopolies and merger commission; cartel office;
Federal Trade Commission -- pick a translation you feel comfortable with.)
* The Spanish Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial (INTA) announced
the selection today of Thiokol's CASTOR IVB solid rocket motor as the first
stage booster for Spain's new Capricornio launch vehicle. The launcher's
initial flight is scheduled for 1999.
Capricornio is a three-stage solid propellant vehicle developed by INTA to
carry small payloads weighing approximately 100 kilograms (220 lb.) into
low Earth orbit (LEO). INTA, a Spanish government institute, started
Capricornio development in 1992 with the intent of creating a national
capability in space launch vehicles.
* COMSAT Corporation announced today that it will complete the spin-off of
its 80.67 percent ownership interest in Ascent Entertainment Group, Inc. to
its shareholders in accordance with its previously announced restructuring
and new strategic business plan. Amongst other satellite related business
;-), Ascent owns the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche sports
by Dr Sarmaz
The recent deal between PrimeStar and ASkyB (News Corp./MCI) left the mass
media a bit disconcerted, if I may say so.
"Murdoch expands cable, satellite empire PrimeStar deal entree to market"
(The Washington Times)
"Murdoch Exits U.S. Satellite Business"
Now what? Given the fact that neither Mr Murdoch's News Corp nor his ASkyB
partner MCI will have a say in the new venture that will be created, the
latter is probably closest to the truth.
"We are going to turn our attention primarily to the local telephone
market, and that means that we'll be doing less with News Corp. than
otherwise would have occurred. This is a way for us to refocus our energies
on local services," said Mary Brown, director of public policy at MCI. The
company has a US$2-billion deal with Mr Murdoch's News Corp.
At least, MCI and British Telecom (BT) Broadcast Services will this week
launch a broadcast satellite service for U.S. and international television
programmers that will beam signals around the world using MCI's U.S.
satellites, GALAXY-3R, GE-2, and BT satellite capacity. No too surprising,
though, as MCI is in the process of being taken over by BT.
Meanwhile, Reuters noted in an unusually provocative report by John Dempsey
and Martin Peers that "the final [PrimeStar] agreement was a stunning back
down for Murdoch, who had been under pressure from cablers and Wall Street
for months over his plans to spend billions of dollars on a satellite TV
business which could take on the cable industry."
They noted that the deal gave Mr Murdoch "no incentive to hold onto the
stake, and News Corp. hinted to Wall Streeters [...] that it planned to
eventually sell the Primestar interest."
Yes, Mr Murdoch may have suffered his greatest defeat yet, being forced to
sell off valuable DBS assets to his rivals. But this will get him not only
a stake in PrimeStar US$1.1 billion and a much better distribution for his
cable channels but also the acclaim of News Corp investors who recently
seemed to have become a bit nervous on Mr Murdoch's recent cash-intensive
Copyright (c) 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights
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