Sat-ND, 06.11.1997 It's Kohl outside
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Boeing's double whammy
News from Cape York
Finally! El Niño in Sat-ND
...damit sie nicht vom Himmel fallen
Hispasat 1C ordered
Toronto subway happening explained
Loral in India
Internet on JCSat 4
Star TV, Phoenix up from the ashes?
Turner, Murdoch and Hitler again
A replacement satellite built by The Boeing Company for the U.S. Air Force's Global Position System (GPS) was carried into orbit today aboard the aerospace company's Delta II expendable launch vehicle.
The Delta II lifted off the pad at 7:30 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral air Station and placed the Navstar IIa satellite into a transfer orbit with an apogee of 20,350 km and 185 km at its perigee. The satellite will then propel itself to its operational orbit of nearly 20,372 km. It was the second successful launch of a GPS replacement satellite this year .
Both the satellite, a Navstar Block IIa, and the Delta II 7925 expendable launch vehicle were built by The Boeing Company. The satellite became the fourth replacement for the air Force's space-based radio navigation system. It allows military users to determine their position anywhere on Earth to an accuracy of 9 metres and permits civilians, such as mariners, to calculate their location to within 91 metres.
Australian Foreign Minister alexander Downer told a news conference that Russian Proton and Soyuz booster rockets will be used in commercial launches of satellites from his country.
Downer, who was on a three-day official visit to Russia, said australia and Russia had fascinating prospects in space research co-operation. Quoting "well-informed sources," News agency Itar-Tass said australia was planning to build a launch site on Cape York Peninsula in the north of the country.
You don't need well-informed sources, though that story was featured in Sat-ND, a so-called newsletter that is far from being well-informed, back in January. In fact, there's nothing much to add except that there already had been an australian-Russian agreement in space research, which expires next December without having produced any notable results.
A group of Australian, American and Korean business people plan to build a billion-dollar space base on Cape York. The project's clients would include the Korean government, Hyundai aerospace, Korea Mobile Communications and Iridium, a company linked to communications giant Motorola.
According to the Brisbane Courier-Mail, Sydney-based International Resource Corporation (IRC) said it had contracted two Russian organisations to design commercial launch facilities for Soyuz rockets.
Sat-ND reader Geoff Shang from Australia added that "This is not the first [time] I've heard of space developments up there, but as far as I know, there's been little more than talk about it so far."
A second-generation weather instrument built by Hughes Space and Communications Co. is scheduled to be launched November 18 on a NaSa spacecraft on an H2 rocket from Tanegashima, Japan.
Co-sponsored by the National aeronautics and Space administration (NaSa) and Japan's National Space Development agency (NaSDa), the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) will provide a three-year dataset of global tropical and subtropical rainfall, a major predictor of climate and weather forecasting.
The Hughes-designed TRMM Microwave Imager, or TMI, is designed to operate with a precipitation radar provided by NaSDa, and together the two will more accurately measure rainfall over large areas, improving our understanding of air and sea interactions that lead to such seasonal events as the "El Niño" effect.
The H-2 will also carry the ETS-7 rendezvous-docking test system.
If you lived in my part of the world, you'd probably ask yourself whether there Sun was still where it used to be. It is indeed, and it's pretty active, too.
The U.S. National Oceanic and atmospheric administration (NOaa) warned that a giant solar flare had burst off the southwest region of the Sun and was likely to generate a geomagnetic storm that could affect satellites. They may experience surface charging, which can result in arcing between parts of the satellite. Those effects have in the past killed (Telstar 401) or at least partially disabled (Tempo) quite a few satellites.
The solar flare occurred at 0658 UTC last Tuesday and was rated as a class X, the highest intensity classification. Forecasters at the U.S. government's Space Environment Center predict that activity in Earth's magnetic field will increase over the next few days, with the geomagnetic storm reaching its greatest intensity on Friday.
Apart from producing aurora borealis or australis, northern/southern lights, this latest solar event is expected to have only minor effects on Earth. There will be more of those events in the coming years as the Sun's activity, which is subject to an eleven-year cycle, is heading towards its next peak in 2000.
By then, events such as the one in 1989 could occur when a solar storm knocked out the electrical system in all of Quebec, Canada, and destroyed a large power transformer in New Jersey, USA.
"...so they don't fall from the sky." Line stolen from the song "Engel" (Angels) by German band Rammstein. I won't explain that as you've got to get totally pissed to get the hang of that CD, titled "Sehnsucht" (Desire) even if you understand German. It's not only Heavy Metal but also leaves out not a single aspect of human sexuality. Totally disgusting!
Hispasat has ordered yet another satellite from France's aerospatiale. Hispasat 1C will be used to transmit all-digital TV channels on 24 transponders to Spain and Latin america.
Hispasat is the national satellite system of the even more Popular Republic of Spain :-) [Sat-ND, 5.11.97.] aerospatiale's bid to construct the 1C satellite was preferred to those of Hughes, USA and France's Matra, which built Hispasat 1a and 1B.
The cost of the satellite is estimated at US$100 million. The launch vehicle for Hispasat has still to be decided upon, but there's little doubt that it will be a European ariane rocket.
Okay, here's what happened on that Toronto subway station today when Telesat officials were playing around with a large model of Canada's first Direct broadcast Satellite (DBS.)
Telesat launched a competition to name that bird, just like it did 25 years ago when the country's first telecommunications satellite was launched. Its name, anik, was submitted by Julie-Frances Czapla of St. Leonard, Quebec, and chosen from some thousand submissions in a national contest in 1969. (anik means "little brother" in the Inuit dialect.)
as I expected yesterday, the winner's name will be placed on the satellite itself, right below its name. Of course, non-Canadians needn't apply. There's a second competition: high schools students are given a chance to win a C$20,000 grant or bursary for their school. The have to dash off 300 words on "what you think satellites will be doing for humanity in 25 years."
Now, you need an overboarding sense of imagination to do that. While I could write 300,000 words on what satellites may do for your business, I just can't think of anything they might be doing for humanity in general. What I would find much more interesting is a 300-word summary of what rocket launches do to the Earth's atmosphere.
Entries must be received by February 13, 1998, and should be sent to Telesat c/o Environics Communications, 33 Bloor Street East, Suite 900, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3H1. Canadians can get more information and complete rules on Telesat's Website (http://www.telesat.ca/), or by calling 1-800-520-0002.
This may be your unique chance to listen to a genuine Sputnik sending beeps from space.
The Sputnik replica, launched a few days ago from the Russian space station Mir, is performing well and sends out beeping noises at 145.820 MHz, which reportedly can be received with a hand-held scanner.
If you don't have one, you can still listen to those beeps by pointing your browser at Dale Ireland's astronomy site and downloading a wav file:
Loral Space & Communications Ltd. has formed a strategic alliance with India-based Modi Entertainment Networks (MEN,) a K.K. Modi Group company, to jointly pursue business opportunities in direct-to-home (DTH) satellite broadcasting in India.
Modi was in the past reported to seek co-operation with DirecTV, a Hughes unit (Sat-ND, 25.9.96/26.2.97.)
A memorandum of agreement signed in Bombay now forms the basis of an exclusive arrangement between Loral and MEN to pursue opportunities in DTH satellite broadcasting, as well as to jointly pursue any required licenses from the Indian government to provide such services. It provides for the appointment of a joint technical and business development team to assess Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite broadcasting opportunities, or any other areas selected by Loral and MEN.
As frequently mentioned, the Indian government is currently working on the details of a new, national broadcast legislation. Currently, there seems to be a temporary ban on Ku-band satellite transmissions, targeted especially at DTH services such as that planned by Rupert Murdoch. He reportedly had secured transponders on PaS-4 which, after the Hughes-PanamSat merger, belonged to Hughes' realm. As Loral is prominently known as a satellite manufacturer, and not so much as a pay-TV provider, it may be a fair guess to expect the planned Indian services to utilise Loral or Orion satellites.
A Loral press release had this to say about the K.K. Modi Group (KKM), headquartered in Bombay: KKM is among the leading industrial conglomerates in India, with wide-ranging business interests in chemicals, tobacco, tea, home care, consumer products and media and entertainment. MEN is a pioneer and leader in providing distribution and subscriber management services, or encrypted "pay" television services, in India. Covering over 1,800 cities and districts across India, MEN has, as an exclusive distributor of ESPN, secured a subscriber base exceeding six million subscribers within a short time span. In addition to ESPN, MEN has formed other joint ventures and strategic alliances with some of the world's leading entertainment companies, including Buena Vista International, Walt Disney Consumer Products, Miramax International and Multimedia (Universal).
The global online business is more or less acting in accordance to the familiar saying "You'll get yours yet." In this case, Japan gets Internet via satellite (yawn.)
An Internet via satellite targeting Japanese homes will be launched by the autumn of 1998 jointly by Japan Satellite Systems Inc. (JSat,( Nomura Research Institute Ltd., and Sony Corp.
Recent experiments produced download speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps which, of course, end users can expect just in theory. No, I won't elaborate on the details.
JSaT will anyway set up a planning company to commercialise the service by the end of the year. A transponder on the JCSaT-4 transponder will be used, enabling users to receive the service with a dish already used for PerfecTV, a digital satellite broadcasting service on JCSaT-3. [So I guess both birds will be co-positioned.]
Users will nonetheless need a PC card, and on top of that, the one-off fee for the service will be something like US$417 with a monthly flat rate of US$83. However, that rate will include telephone charges as well as Internet connection fees. As you may have guessed, the service is unidirectional, so you will need not only a telephone line but also an Internet access provider to use it.
by Dr Sarmaz
Rupert Murdoch's Star TV is, notwithstanding those nasty troubles at the Hong Kong stock exchange, one of the biggest winners of the take-over of the former British crown colony by communist China.
The handover has boosted Mr Murdoch's Star TV Chinesese revenues by 75 percent. In total, Star TV posted revenue gains of over 50 percent for the first quarter to September 30.
So far, this has not changed the expectation of losses around US$63 million in 1997/98. News Corp attributed the stronger revenues to higher advertising and subscription revenues, but it did not reveal a net profit or loss result.
Analysts said it was likely to take another three to four years before Star TV would become profitable.
Star TV distributes more than 100 channels to 62 million homes throughout Asia, including 36.2 million homes in China through its Phoenix cable joint venture. News said Phoenix was officially carried by regional cable operators in China's Guangdong province, making it become the first non-mainland satellite television operator to secure official approval.
Mr Murdoch reaches another 14 million homes in India through its joint venture with the Zee network. News and Zee reportedly plan to float their Indian pay television operations on the New York Stock Exchange next year.
Star TV also operates in Taiwan, South Korea, Pakistan, Oman, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Designated U.N. chairman (oops! Rewind that tape please %$/*#&%*$/#(&%/§) Time Warner vice president Ted Turner is alive and well. In fact, he appeared at a luncheon at London's exclusive Reform Club. And had he some not so flattering things to say about Rupert when he clashed with Mr Murdoch's biographer William Shawcross.
Shawcross asked Turner whether he had referred to Murdoch as Hitler. He had not, in fact. What he said was actually that "talking to Murdoch is like confronting the late Führer" -- quite a difference (Sat-ND, 2.10.96.) Turner reportedly replied to Shawcross that "the phrase I used was the former leader of the German Reich." Correct. Nonetheless, Shawcross exploded: "That's stupid and cheap."
Turner's very cool reply: "If the shoe fits... wear it."
The rest of Turner's remarks on Mr Murdoch weren't new, though.
"Rupert's idea of a better world is a world that's better for Rupert.
"I'd like to get him in the ring. I'll get the gloves on and face him." [Yawn! The old boxing match proposal. Elderly men just shouldn't behave like that. Such a fight would be a most unsavoury sight. Well, okay, both Turner and Murdoch have sons, so why don't they fight it out instead?]
"I don't respect him and I don't like him. People now know he's not a yummy yam from the australian outback.
"He tries to buy politicians with book deals. If he tried to buy politicians it would be illegal. The book deals are transparent.
"He took the BBC off his China satellite feed. In my opinion he is a disgrace to journalism."
True. In order to appease the Chinese communists, Mr Murdoch did not just kick off a BBC channel from Star TV for political, or rather: business reasons. He even published an English version of a biography of former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.
Turner welcomed the prospect of a 24-hour BBC news service for Britain to challenge Murdoch's Sky News. However, the service will be available just in the UK; viewers in the rest of the world will have to turn to one of the BBC's international commercial channels.
Mr Murdoch's Sky News, by no means an unprofessional news channel, is on the contrary freely available in most parts of Europe. But so is Turner's... er, Time-Warner's CNN.
Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
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