5.9.1997 -- They are standing still
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Copyright 1997 by Sat-ND
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protests proposed U.S. satellite rules
Stern in Quebec
still working on XM
buys a baseball team
or without you
- OrbView-2 has
successfully reached its final operational orbit and collected its
first test images of the Earth.
The satellite is owned by
Orbital Imaging Corporation (ORBIMAGE), the Earth imaging subsidiary
of Orbital Sciences Corporation. The spacecraft satellite was
successfully launched on August 1, 1997, aboard Orbital's Pegasus XL
Initially, OrbView-2 was
parked in a circular orbit of 310 kilometres above the Earth. Over
the past month, ORBIMAGE has conducted an extensive series of
spacecraft tests and determined that the satellite's operating
systems are performing very well. During the same period, OrbView-2
was put in its final orbit at an altitude of 705 kilometres through
a series of 32 separate firings of the satellite's onboard hydrazine
Now, the SeaWiFS sensor
aboard OrbView-2 was also activated, taking test images over the
United States, Canada, and the Atlantic Ocean. With these important
milestones now achieved, OrbView-2 is ready to commence its mission
to provide multi-spectral (color) images of the Earth's oceans and
land surfaces for use in scientific and commercial applications, the
ORBIMAGE said in a statement.
- The U.S. Air Force
and Boeing have introduced a prototype of a the next generation
reconnaissance vehicle not exactly a satellite but a
cigar-shaped device, some seven metres in length.
The crewless Space
Maneuver Vehicle could carry a 1,200-pound payload, be launched from
a space shuttle, stay in orbit for a year and finally land on its
own which even makes it reusable.
Initial flight tests with
launches from a helicopter are scheduled to begin in November at
Holliman Air Force Base in New Mexico. The craft will be dropped
from a helicopter at 3.3 kilometres, perform gliding manoeuvres and
land under its own power. Further phases of development yet remain
You can have a look at the
vehicle and read further details at
- Mexico has accepted
the bids of U.S satellite giants General Electric Co., Loral Corp.
and Hughes Electronics Corp. for Mexico's satellite system Satmex.
60 percent of the
government-owned Satelites Mexicanos SA system are to be auctioned,
plus an option for further 15 percent. Satmex owns two operating
centres and the right to launch and operate a fourth satellite in
addition to the existing Morelos 2 and Solidaridad 1 and 2.
The price for the
60-percent share was estimated at US$700 million to US$1 billion.
Satmex generates an annual revenue of about US$110 million. GE,
Loral and Hughes respectively had to co-operate with local companies
because the owner of the 60-percent share must be majority Mexican
Loral Space &
Communications teamed up with Mexico's Telefonica Autrey while
PanamSat partnered with Industrias Penoles. GE Americom has to name
its Mexican partner until the end of September. The winner of the
auction will be announced on November 7.
proposed U.S. satellite rules
- Deregulation, free
trade, unlimited satellite services all over the world? The European
Commission has complained about U.S. rules that may exclude foreign
competitors from access to American skies.
The Commission said that
the draft rules on satellite communications, announced by the U.S.
Federal Communications Commission in July, risked violating
international trade obligations: "The EU [European Union] ...
reserves its right to challenge them under the WTO (World Trade
The EU in particular
refused a planned "reciprocity test" that is intended to
make sure that foreign operators cannot offer satellite services in
the United States unless its country offered U.S. companies
"effective competitive opportunities" in those sectors.
The problem seems to be that the U.S. would define and determine
what "effective competitive opportunities" are.
There is another clause
the EU has complained about: the U.S. rules call for "public
interest" factors to be taken into account. For instance,
licenses could be refused that would present a "very high risk
to competition" -- again, it's obviously the U.S. that decide
on what's a risk to competition.
Stern in Quebec
- U.S. radio shock
jock Howard Stern paid a visit to the Canadian French-speaking
province of Quebec earlier this week and appeared on a radio show.
Meanwhile, the first complaints have arrived at Canada's media
On the English-language
station CHOM-FM, he called French-speaking people "scumbags"
-- and that reportedly was about the nicest thing he had to say
about them. Besides, he expected that Quebec's English-speaking
minority, most of which live in the Montreal area, would appreciate
his anti-French stance.
majority, obviously not used to U.S. shock jocks, was not amused.
The CRTC said it had received several telephone calls and at least
two written complaints about Stern's broadcast. Quebec's
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Jacques Brassard called Stern a
"racist" and "narrow-minded sewer rat" -- in
French. English-rights activists have dismissed Stern's comments as
still working on XM
- Shortly after
pay-radio DMX Europe broke down last July, its founder Jerry
Rubinstein issued a press release saying that a new company by the
name of Xtra Music (XM) had "acquired the rights to the
programming of DMX Inc. for several territories" and "will
be offering the service in 2 to 6 weeks."
Former DMX Europe
customers are still waiting, now that the six weeks are more than
over. However, Mr Rubinstein said meanwhile that the service should
be re-established by the end of September, offering initially 40
channels on the Astra satellite system. He did not give any reasons
for the delay, nor did he elaborate on details of the demise of DMX
Europe. He also said he was owning 90 percent of XM while financing
the venture own his own. (The remaining 10 percent, according to
Rubinstein, are held by DMX Inc. of the U.S.)
The service, he said, will
be launched in Germany first because DMX Europe had most subscribers
there. By the end of the year, Rubinstein hopes to have doubled the
number of channels, offering a Europe-wide service.
Now I won't say this guy
isn't really trying hard to get the service up and running again. I
hope he succeeds because, in effect, he owes me some money I
happened to be a subscriber to DMX Europe, and anyway: I share
Rubinstein's belief that this is a truly great service, although
only for a minority. However, his July statement turned out to be
simply false, so why believe his new promises?
- by Dr Sarmaz
buys a baseball team
- Rupert Murdoch's
Fox Group will finally buy the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.
The deal that had been
expected for some months is still subject to approval by Major
League Baseball's eight-member ownership committee. The sale must in
turn be approved by three-fourths of the National League club owners
and a majority of American League owners.
The deal, worth an
estimated US$350 million, was finalised over the past few days. It
had been expected since last May when the Dodgers sought permission
to begin discussions with Fox.
Mr Murdoch's network
already airs about 40 Dodgers games per year. The purchase will
provide him with broadcast rights not only for his Fox Sports
operations, but also for his television ventures in Asia where
baseball seems to be popular too [at least in Japan.]
or without you
- A statement
recently made by TCI chairman John Malone has raised some doubts
about the involvement of Mr Murdoch's News Corp in PrimeStar, a DBS
service run by U.S. cable companies.
Malone gave the PrimeStar
roll-up a 90 percent chance of completion which he expects to happen
within the next three to six months. (Last June, PrimeStar Partners,
the nation's second largest provider of direct broadcast satellite
[DBS] video services, announced the reorganisation of its ownership
structure from a partnership into a new corporation called PrimeStar
Inc. The service also plans to offer high-power satellite services.)
However, Malone gave News
Corp.'s effort to join the home satellite provider only a 65 percent
chance. Under the proposed deal, News Corp would sell its prime
orbital slot, two high-power satellites and related DBS assets to
Primestar for US$1.1 billion in nonvoting securities.
Malone said that PrimeStar
may not be able to go to high-power until next summer. Observers
noted that that may allow the already existing DBS services to hold
and extend their lead over PrimeStar that currently utilises only
medium-power satellite capacity.
Dance told me that yesterdays "Car Repair via Satellite"
was quite nice, adding that additional information on
the GPS end of the system check was available at
did not check the URL because I'd only be interested in a
satellite-based bicycle repair service that can inflate flat tyres
and possibly grease my chain if necessary ;-)
Paul Gillingwater asked
what a "supersynchronous" orbit was. I used that term
yesterday to describe the launch of GE-3. I may be wrong as usual,
but I think it's a relatively new variation of the geostationary
transfer orbit (GTO) that any satellite has to be put into before
gradually becoming truly geostationary. Maybe the experts who read
this service can provide a more detailed explanation. Besides, I
remember that Jonathan's Space Report had some details on those new
GTO techniques a few months ago, so why not check the back issues of
this truly professional service (in contrast to
Several readers have
written in to express their support to this service in the wake of
my recent "piss off" bit. As I'm not sure I can answer
every email separately in due course, I'd just like to take this
occasion to thank you very much for your encouragement. Every
comment by you is indeed appreciated, even though I may not have the
time to answer it. I'll try to, anyway.
09/97 by Peter C. Klanowski,
pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
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