Sat-ND, 03.11.1997 +3966982
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Brazil rocket blast
Sputnik-2 in orbit
Animal torture in space
Lockheed gives Globalstar to GE
Cancom goes Regional
Disney hurts Children's Broadcasting Corporation
Nigeria makes "global" appearance on TV
PerfecTV plans high-power platform
LAW & ORDER
Hungarian radio licenses
BBC News Online
DON'T ASK ME!
Last Saturday's Sat-ND was sent in a wrong format as text and as StarWriter Document. This was completely my fault (for a change ;-) Sorry for any inconvenience.
If, for any reason, you'd like Sat-ND, 01.11.1997 in HTML, it's available at http://www.lynet.de/~pck/971101.html and http://www.sat-net.com/pck/971101.html
Brazils first indigenous launcher, the Satellite Launch Vehicle VLS, had to be destroyed two shortly after take-off when it veered off course. As a consequence, Brazil also lost its Data Gathering Satellite SCD-2.
The 20-m high rocket (total cost: US$6.5 million) was launched from the Alcantara space centre in the north of the country yesterday, Sunday at 10:25 a.m. local time. Caused by the failure of one of its propulsion engines, the rocket left its course soon after launch. The country's space agency AEB then initiated a controlled self-destruction.
Officials reported that parts of the rocket, which had reached an altitude of 3.2 kilometres, and the satellite fell in a secure area in the Atlantic Ocean about two kilometres from the launch site.
Brazil will nonetheless continue its foray into space. The next launch is expected for September 1998. Good luck.
On their spacewalk today, Mir cosmonauts Anatoli Solovyev and Pavel Vinogradov launched an exact replica of Sputnik, the world's first artificial satellite.
Almost exact: Sputnik-2 is just a third of the original spacecraft's size (and being the first-ever satellite, it was pretty small anyway.) How do you launch such a small gadget? You more or less just let it float. It's expected to trail the Mir space station for some time.
Sputnik-2, launched just a bit more than 40 years after the original Sputnik, was made by Russian and French schoolchildren under the first international youth space programme. News agency Itar-Tass stated the programme was "both of enlightening and practical nature: the mockup satellite is operable and will constantly maintain communications with Earth."
There's yet another anniversary: exactly 40 years ago, the first dog was launched into space. This sad anniversary marks 40 years of torturing and killing animals in the name of space science.
What the Russians did to that poor doggie called Laika wasn't exactly nice. Picked up in a street, it was prepared for the flight for nearly ten years, then sent up and undoubtedly had to die in great pain a few days later when the capsule re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and burnt up. Over the last forty years, many more animals have been tortured and killed in order to prepare the humans' selfish reach for the stars (Sat-ND, 9.1./23.4.97.)
News agency Itar-Tass reports that while no monument has been put up for Laika, at least memorial plaque was to be unveiled today at the building where it was trained for the flight. It added that "A monument to dogs will be possibly put up in Russia for their contribution to space science."
[BTW: Has anybody heard of cats in space? Neither have I. That probably proves not only their outstanding superiority over dogs but also over humans.]
Now I have just this press release, and I don't really know whether it's important or not. I think so because in it, the word 'billion' pops up quite frequently.
I suppose you're not interested in all those billions of dollars and the gory details of stock swapping, so here's just a summary: Lockheed Martin will exchange the stock of a newly formed subsidiary comprising operating businesses, an equity interest and cash for all of the Lockheed Martin Series A preferred stock held by GE.
Miraculously, GE expects to record a gain on the transaction of more than US$1 billion while Lockheed Martin anticipates a gain in excess of US$300 million. [Maybe I should learn more about how they do that.]
However, among the assets transferred to GE is also Lockheed Martin's stake in Globalstar, "a partnership of telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers formed to create a low-Earth-orbit voice and data satellite network." [The consortium is led by Loral.]
Lockheed Martin said the transaction is subject to standard regulatory reviews and is anticipated to close during the fourth quarter of 1997. General Electric, through its GE Americom subsidiary, is one of the largest satellite communications providers.
Globalstar is a Limited Partnership company formed in 1991, comprising companies such as AirTouch Communications, Dacom/Hyundai, France Telecom/Alcatel, Daimler-Benz, Vodafone, Alenia Spazio, Elsag Bailey, and Finmeccanica. [I never found any mention of Lockheed so far in connection with Globalstar.]
Cancom (Canadian Satellite Communications Inc.) has entered into an agreement with Regional Cablesystems Inc. (Regional) to purchase 2,500,000 common shares of Regional for C$24.375 million.
Alain Gourd, President and CEO of Cancom, explains: "Cancom's satellite infrastructure was built in the 1980's to support a network of small satellite reliant cable operators across the country. Over the years, Regional has become one of our largest affiliates. Therefore, the proposed purchase of Regional shares reflects Cancom's support for our partner's plan to expand its presence in regional cable markets, and our strong belief that Regional's management team will successfully implement this plan."
Regional provides cable service to approximately 115,000 cable television subscribers in non-urban markets throughout Canada. Cancom is the foremost provider of digital satellite services in Canada, serving 2,525 small cable systems that provide service to some four million households situated for the most part in remote regions beyond the reach of conventional transmitters.
Christopher T. Dahl, CEO of Children's Broadcasting Corporation (CBC,) sounds disappointed. "We have been forced to alter our business plans and operations by ABC/Disney's method of entry into the children's radio market," he said.
"We have received cancellation notices from several important affiliates. As difficult and painful as this decision was to make, and as much as we continue to believe in the children's radio market CBC has pioneered, we were simply not in a position to take any other course," Dahl added.
U.S. company CBC, not to be confused with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has notified its affiliate radio stations that it will cease distributing its full-time programming format as of midnight, January 30, 1998. A national network since October 1992, it had 32 affiliate stations at its peak reaching approximately 40 percent of the country.
CBC intends to continue to explore other methods of distribution of children's audio programming such as SDARS (Satellite Digital Audio Radio Service), and also to develop and enhance its Internet Web site real-time audio presence and other programming products, including syndicated children's programs.
Oh yes, it's Nigeria again. It has actually happened: African Independent Television (AIT) launched its 24-hour satellite channel today on Intelsat 601, 34.5° W. (Technical details not available, sorry.)
An enthusiastic executive chairman Raymond Dokpesi told the guests of the launch ceremony in Lagos that "History is being made with the launching of our satellite transmission with global coverage." [As I noted earlier, you simply cannot provide global coverage using just one geostationary satellite. Intelsat really should've told them ;-]
Notwithstanding, Dokpesi added "This is indeed a great moment for Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the black community all over the world." Broadcasting from AIT's new headquarters on the outskirts of Lagos, the channel will offer news, feature films and light entertainment but probably nothing on human rights abuse in Nigeria. The venture is supposed to be financed by paid advertising.
AIT said it would present a new and positive image of Africa to the world. Replace "Africa" with "Nigeria" and you'll get the idea. Nigeria's military government has in the past complained about allegedly unfair reporting by international media. With more than 104 million inhabitants, Nigeria is Africa's most populous country.
This, however, is not related to the digital broadcasts on PanAmSat by another commercial station from Nigeria, Minaj TV (Sat-ND, 30.10.97.) The company from Obosi in the east of the country was also granted a license that according to Nigeria's broadcasting commission "empowers the organisation to operate world-wide satellite television signals originating from Nigeria." (Sat-ND, 25.05.96.)
PerfecTV Corp., a Japanese platform provider for digital broadcasting services owned largely by Japan's major trading houses, is planning to set up another satellite broadcasting joint venture.
Yomiuri Shimbun, a leading Japanese newspaper reported today that the planned venture would comprise programs from Japanese commercial television stations, transmitted digitally via a (high-power) Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS.)
PerfecTV since October 1996 offers services such as advertising, sales promotion and marketing activities for digital broadcasts via a (medium-power) communications satellite. PerfecTV's platform is used by nearly 100 television and more than 100 radio channels.
Such services would also be offered on the planned high-power platform. According to PerfecTV, commercial broadcasters could save up to ¥20 billion by using a direct-broadcast satellite platform such as that proposed.
One of the TV stations that may use the DBS platform is Tokyo Broadcasting System Inc., a major private commercial broadcaster that is expected to take a stake in PerfecTV by the end of this year.
Hungary has auctioned off two radio networks. The country's commercial radio will in future be run by a U.S. and a British consortium, respectively.
According to press reports, the British consortium led by the Daily Mail and General Trust will be issued a license to use the network of the semi-commercial Danubius Radio. In the auction, the consortium put up a bid of 4.12 billion Forint.
A second, new network will be used by U.S. Group Emmis International, which owns and operates radio stations in four major American cities. Emmis' bid for the transmitter chain was 4.05 billion Forint.
You can receive more Hungarian news by subscribing to sat-hungary, yet another fine service sponsored by TELE-satellite International.
As you may know, the British Broadcasting Corporation is planning to launch a domestic 24-hour news channel soon. Something like that is due to debut on Auntie Beeb's web site tomorrow, Tuesday, according to reports. Is it?
Unlike that TV news channel, the BBC's Internet news site will (hopefully) be available world-wide. So far, you can reach BBC News Online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/index/newsonline/newshome.html (even though the most prominent feature seems to be news in Cantonese. Hmm.)
What's expected, though, is something similar to cnn.com. Anyway, the BBC will be relaunching its Web site in mid-December 1997, with new content, new features and a brand new look. Says the BBC.
Where is Hotbird 3? I thought it should be at 13.0 East.
Fareed Al Gurg
Well, in order to get confused you may want to have a look at Eutelsat's fabulous Web site at http://www.eutelsat.org/ (last updated August 7, 1997.) There, you can read that "Hot Bird 3, EUTELSATs next bird for 13 degrees East, left Toulouse airport for Cayenne on July 24 on board an Antonov cargo plane." What's more, "final tests of Hot Bird 3 began on July 26 in preparation for its launch on Ariane V99 on September 2." Yeah, just like Eutelsat I wish it was summer again...
Or you could ask me instead, which generally is a very very bad idea. In this case, however, I'd tell you that Eutelsat HotBird 3 has indeed arrived at 13.1°E quite some days ago. Trust me, I'm a doctor! If you don't receive anything, it may be attributed to the fact that this bird is used for those nasty digital transmissions. Digital TV just sucks!
Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
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