Sat-ND, 25.11.1997 performed by the Andrews Sisters
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No DASA communications payloads
Continued from Sat-ND, 23.11.97
"Okay, now that we've got it Mr Doi, let's decide what we're going to do with it."
That's how it sounded when two of the space shuttle Columbia's astronauts (NASA's Winston Scott and Takao Doi from Japan) finally got hold of the errant solar-observing satellite Spartan. The 1,350-kg spacecraft was recaptured today at 0209 UTC a task that turned out to be easier than expected because it had almost completely stopped spinning.
As the rescue action also involved Japan's first EVA (extra-vehicular activity,) national broadcaster NHK carried the spacewalk for at least two hours.
A quick test of the recaptured satellite revealed no obvious problems. Actually, it is fully functional. In theory, this makes it possible to release the satellite a second time during the current space shuttle mission.
The problem was that the satellite never received a signal to activate crucial on-board systems. Spartan "was basically idling and it never got out of idle mode," said Craig Tooley, the Spartan mission manager. He added he was not sure if the blame lies with the shuttle astronauts or with the laptop[!] computer used to send the commands.
PanAmSat does it. Orion does it. Comsat, the U.S. Intelsat signatory, does it, too. Comsat Corporation now offers digital teleport services including a link-up to the Internet to both international and domestic customers.
The Comsat Digital Teleport provides turnkey digital satellite communications for the Internet and other applications through 15 existing antennas in Clarksburg, USA. It provides satellite communications on six Intelsat C- and two Ku-band satellites in the Atlantic Ocean Region (AOR), as well as on other international and domestic satellites.
The Intelsat satellites located at 53, 35, 25, 22 and 18 degrees West have strong coverage in South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The teleport's 10-meter Torus C-band antenna recently was upgraded to an Intelsat Standard B antenna which allows a more efficient use of the satellite's power and bandwidth. The Torus also accesses five Intelsat satellites in the AOR.
Comsat's connection to the Internet is provided by the Internet carrier Digex Incorporated. A national fibre-optic, high-speed Internet backbone is utilised to connect satellite-based traffic to the MAE-East Internet point of presence. Comsat Digital Teleport is packaging the space and ground segments with the Internet connection.
by Dr Sarmaz
Saudi Prince Al Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has confirmed he has acquired a five percent stake in News Corp, the global media giant controlled by Mr Murdoch.
Al-Waleed, a nephew of Saudi-Arabian King Fahd, reportedly used the turmoil on the major stock markets at the end of October for his shopping spree. He also bought five percent in Netscape Communications Corp. and one percent of Motorola Inc., obviously because he likes their Iridium satellites so much. The are contradicting reports on the money he spent; the sum ranges from US$850 million to US$1.2 billion.
"I want to concentrate on communications, technology, entertainment and news," Al-Waleed told the Financial Times. "This is the future. News Corp. is the only truly global news and entertainment company. Netscape is strongly involved with the Internet. Motorola is very global in telephones and satellites. These companies are going to play a crucial role."
Al-Waleed, estimated at U$12 billion, has invested into many businesses and is no newcomer to electronic media. He owns several Arab satellite TV channels and, in July 1995, was part of a consortium that took over some 20 percent of Italian media mogul Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset. Mr Murdoch, by the way, was interested too. When negotiating with Al-Waleed, he received a gold-plated Kalashnikov machine gun as a present from the Saudi prince.
Mr Murdoch stayed out of the deal, however. Rumour has it that Al-Waleed also partnered with Mr Murdoch on an unsuccessful bid for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer last year. Notwithstanding, people close to News Corp. reportedly said Murdoch and the prince are not particularly close. News Corp did not have anything else to say than "we welcome him as a shareholder."
Al-Waleed becomes, in theory, one of the largest individual shareholders in News Corp. He's still behind the Murdoch family (30 percent) and institutional investor Capital Research (up to seven percent.) Besides, he seems to have acquired non-voting preference shares, which would leave his stake effectively at no more than 2.5 percent of the total outstanding stock.
The ailing U.S. Spanish-language network Telemundo has some new owners. In a complicated transaction, Japan's Sony and cable giant TCI's Liberty Media programming arm bought into the network subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
I'll spare you the gory details because (1) I don't understand them and (2) all that is subject to further changes anyway. The network will probably be divided into two companies, a broadcast station group and a network, the latter being run in a 50-50 venture by Sony Pictures and Liberty Media. Telemundo will sell assets and enter into a long term affiliation agreement with the new network.
The company's 7 UHF TV stations in the U.S. will in effect be owned by Apollo Management and Bastion Capital Fund (50.1 percent,) Liberty Media (25.05 percent,) and Sony (24.95 percent.) Foreign companies are not allowed to own more than 25 percent of U.S. TV stations. Liberty's would own just under five percent of the voting equity and 20 percent of the non-voting equity in compliance with cable/broadcast cross-ownership rules.
Primex Aerospace Company said in a press release it would set a record in November, participating in seven rocket launches across the country.
A few sentences later, we read that "The company has fitted rockets for eight satellites being launched this month." Which by the way is almost over, so most of those satellites should be on their way into proper orbit, undoubtedly beaming of joy because being propelled by what Primex calls rockets.
"Our rockets put satellites into their final orbit and enable stationkeeping and repositioning," revealed Bill Smith, vice president of Primex Aerospace's Space Systems division. Many communications satellites require precise movements in order to function properly, he added.
Redmond[!]-based, Primex Aerospace has developed and manufactured rockets since the late '50's as Rocket Research Company and Olin Aerospace Company. The company claims it's the world's leading producer of electric propulsion rockets for satellites and spaceships.
It comes even worse. A news agency (no, not my favourite one) today ran an article under the headline "Satellite solution aims to tackle truants."
The article is about controlling unauthorised absence of children from school. Not in the USA, maybe they already do it there, but in the UK. Funnily, there is no further mention of any satellite in the article (except in the first sentence which more or less just retells the headline.) So, where's the beef?
There's probably only one publication in the world where you get similarly unprofessional journalism, and that's of course this so-called newsletter.
"Sat-ND has recently learned that German satellite manufacturers, which currently are providing more or less just spare parts like their Chinese counterparts, may be in for a bit more such as orders for complete communications payloads from customers yet to be identified. So far, these rumours could not be substantiated ..." (Sat-ND, 23.11.97)
There is a first reaction from Daimler Benz Aerospace (DASA,) to my knowledge the largest German aerospace company. A spokesman of their Dornier satellite systems subsidiary told me they don't [can't?] offer complete communications payloads ("just an antenna here and there") and have no plans to do so in the future. Their main business was supplying satellite busses in co-operation with France's Aerospatiale.
The German satellite industry has never been competitive on an international level. Even the three truly national Kopernikus satellites, delivered by a German consortium (at a ridiculously high price,) reportedly contain French parts. There will be no follow-up system as Deutsche Telekom, operator of the Kopernikus satellites, has since become a shareholder of Luxembourg's commercial satellite operator SES. Telekom will use capacity on SES's (U.S. built) Astra satellites instead.
Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
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