Sat-ND, 30.11.1997 Gimme steam!
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Wacky press releases, Sat-ND 27.11.97
Russia plans to carry out six rocket launches in December to put into orbit three foreign commercial satellites, two military spacecraft and a supply spaceship for the orbital station Mir, reported Itar-Tass.
And these are the launch dates, presumably all local time:
December 3-4: Astra 1G aboard a Proton from Baikonur, Kazakhstan
December 12-15: A military Kosmos satellite (Baikonur)
December 14-15: Early Bird (Start 1 from Svobodny, Russia)
December 15-16: Another Kosmos (this time from Plesetsk, Russia)
December 20-23: Progress supply spaceship
December 23-24: Asiasat (Proton, Baikonur)
Russian Space Forces <http://mx.iki.rssi.ru/SFCSIC/rsf.html> (not up to date; launch statistics were last updated October 20, 1996)
Societé Européenne des Satellites (SES) meanwhile let it be known that the final launch preparations for its Astra 1G satellite were underway at the Cosmodrome of Baikonur (Kazakhstan).
A Proton 1-D-e launch vehicle is scheduled to carry Astra 1G into geostationary transfer orbit during the early morning hours of December 2nd to December 3rd, 1997. [Now which early morning hours exactly?] The launch window opens at 04.10 a.m. Baikonur time (December 3,) i.e. December 2, 2310 UTC.
The launch services for Astra 1G onboard Proton are provided by International Launch Services (ILS), a joint venture between Lockheed-Martin of the United States and Khrunichev respectively Energia of Russia.
Astra 1G is the seventh satellite in the Astra constellation to be co-positioned at 19.2° East. Built by Hughes Space and Communications of California, Astra 1G is an HS 601 HP type spacecraft carrying 32 active transponders that are equipped with 98-watt travelling wave tube amplifiers.
The launch will be broadcast free-to-air on Astra, SES said. [Why free, why not scrambled? I'd even pay for that if they guaranteed me that the rocket would explode in sight of the TV cameras.]
Astra fans and other masochists should tune into Astra transponder Nr. 40 (11.068 GHz v.) The broadcast from Baikonur is scheduled to start at 2230 UTC on December 2 and will end approximately 15 minutes after take-off of the Proton launch vehicle.
No changes in Kourou: the 103rd Ariane rocket is still scheduled to blast off from French Guiana December 3 (UTC,) carrying the Japanese JCSat-5 and the German Equator-S satellites.
An Ariane 44P rocket equipped with four solid strap-on boosters will be used for the launch that is expected between 0037 and 0337 UTC.
Equator-S, a 230-kg satellite for Germany's Max Planck Institute, will measure the effects of solar winds on the Earth's magnetic and electrical fields. It is part of the International Solar Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program. (For details on JCSat-5: Sat-ND, 27.11.97.)
NASA is on Monday expected to take a decision on whether to launch the Spartan satellite from space shuttle Columbia a second time.
The first launch had, as reported, been unsuccessful and resulted in a spectacular rescue operation: two astronauts had to catch the 1,350-kg craft with their hands (Sat-ND, 23./25.11.97.)
They will probably have to do just that again in case Spartan is released once more, because "that would give us the most flexibility," according to mission control's Bill McArthur
The problem is that the Spartan re-launch would require additional fuel for manoeuvring. The shuttle would have to back up 50 to 65 km from the satellite to give it an unobstructed view and minimise the risk of a collision.
Having the probe grabbed by astronauts later would be less fuel-consuming than using the shuttle's robot arm and anyway, that retrieval method didn't work after the first launch.
Whatever the decision will be: it's most unlikely that Spartan will be able to perform its full mission which was supposed to last two days. The options now range from few hours to a day of free flight, or maybe not even that. Another option that was discussed was attaching Spartan to the robot arm and dangle it over the shuttle's side.
Columbia is scheduled to return to Earth early Friday, but the mission could be extended an extra day if Spartan is released again, officials said.
In a US$40-million deal, Arab satellite operator Arabsat sold its oldest operational satellite to the Indian government.
Arabsat said the deal for Arabsat 1C, launched in 1992 and currently located at 31.2° E, was signed in New Delhi on November 26. The final handover of the satellite will take place at the beginning of January 1998.
Based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Arabsat is owned by 21 Arab countries.
The European Commission has warned German media giants CLT-Ufa and Kirch Group not to offer commonly distributed pay-TV channels prior to regulatory approval. Both companies pretended to be surprised.
The EU commission complained in a letter to both companies that they were offering joint movies and sports channels on CLT-Ufa's Premiere Digital platform, using Kirch's d-box decoder even though their strategic alliance has not yet been cleared.
Commission officials said the letter, which also demands the distribution of d-boxes to Premiere Digital subscribers be stopped, was just a "clarification." Both companies will be given an opportunity to explain their point of view within the next few days.
According to European legislation, joint ventures are subject to regulatory approval if the turnover of the companies involved exceeds ECU250 million in the EU or ECU5 billion world-wide. In case of disobedience, the EU commission may fine up to ten percent of their combined turnover.
The Polish episcopate has once more distanced itself from the country's controversial catholic Radio Maryja network following investigations against its director father Tadeusz Rydzyk.
The public prosecutor of Torun, the city where Radio Maryja has its headquarters, is investigating against Rydzyk for slander. In Radio Maryja programmes, he called parliamentarians who voted in favour of liberalising abortion legislation "criminals."
The prosecutor now ordered that Rydzyk be brought before the judge as he so far refused to appear in court. The secretary of the Polish episcopate, Tadeusz Pieronek, said the order could not be interpreted as a prosecution of the Catholic Church in Poland.
Simultaneously, a few hundred Radio Maryja fans in Torun and other Polish cities such as Krakow and Bialystok staged rallies protesting the court order. The network, run by supporters of the redemptionist catholic faction, has been known for broadcasting extremist and anti-semitic programmes since its launch in 1991.
Radio Maryja <http://www.man.torun.pl/RadioMaryja/>
By Dr Sarmaz
Rupert Resources Ltd. is pleased that the size of the Crown Kimberlite Complex is now recognised to be significantly larger than previously reported.
The "Main Pipe", "Satellite Pipe" and "Bulge" had been interpreted to be separate but are now included within a single larger kimberlitic diatreme complex with intrusive (hypabyssal) kimberlite components -- the Crown Kimberlite Complex. At a depth of 330 meters the Crown Kimberlite Complex has an interpreted surface area of 4.18 hectares.
Drillhole Crown-1 entered the Crown Kimberlite Complex at 409.6 meters and is currently drilling in the Complex at 787.0 meters. Drilling difficulties have been overcome, the hole has been reduced to BQ size and is expected to continue to about 1100 meters.
The initial intersection of the Crown Kimberlite Complex consisted of diatreme facies kimberlite with large rafts of Karoo shale intruded by hypabyssal kimberlite. From 599.6 to the current depth of 787.0 the hole intersected both diatreme facies and hypabyssal kimberlite with only minor shale rafts. The longest sections of hypabyssal kimberlite encountered to date are from 647.0 to 667.0 metres (20.0 metres) and from 713.0 to 787.0 (74.0 meters).
Rupert Resources <http://www.rupert.com/>
"Moonie leader to bless 2,500 marriages"
Reuters World Report
"28,000 Couples Pledge Wedding Vows"
"30,000 couples attend Moon ceremony"
UPI US & World
"Korean Moon blesses 3.6 million marriages"
Reuters North America
Well, it's satellite-related, isn't it? The latest mass marriage led by the controversial Korean-born Rev. Sun Myung Moon, head of a so-called "Unification Church," was indeed transmitted world-wide via satellite. Protesters outside the venue called Moon's church a sham.
That explains the vast number of participants. In case you stumbled across such a transmission, here's an explanation (although it's hard to believe Christians behave like that, at least if you live in Europe.)
Reverend Moon chose the new couples as partners by looking at their photographs, an "honour" they merit after three years in the church. Critics say Moon's mass marriages are a ploy to gain U.S. citizenship for foreign members of his church. Usually, the candidates for those marriages haven't known each other before and often even come from different countries.
77-year-old Moon, who served a 13-month prison term ending in 1985 for tax evasion, has failed to gain new U.S. converts since the late 1970s and now reportedly turned to a non-denominational approach. That is, he tried to spice up his "Blessing '97" event by inviting representatives of other religions, political leaders, and entertainers most of them didn't turn up though as they probably realised in time what it was all about.
Singer Whitney Houston even missed out a record US$1-million fee by cancelling her appearance at the last minute, saying she was ill. [I can understand that, I get sick just by reading the reports on Mr Moons "Blessing" event.]
Unification Home Page <http://www.unification.net/>
Makes me puke as well: True Family Values Ministry <http://www.tfvm.org/>
I quoted a press release by Philips Car Systems which main point was that "As a part of its Army Space Exploration Program, the Space and Missile Defense Battle Lab will use the multiple sensors and map technology of Philips Car Systems' 'Carin' unit to provide continuous, accurate navigation through extended periods of GPS outages."
Hans G. Janssen commented:
"Interesting, first while the newest version of Carin is entirely GPS orientated system. So no signal, no readings. The somewhat older Bosch/Blaupunkt system had wheel sensors and a compass, apart from GPS, so it can hold your position some time along the road, after a shut off from GPS-signals. It seems obvious that US-army will use the more precise (military) version for Carin. Why the normal version, which will be downgraded in times of war..."
Who knows. As far as I know, the U.S. Army was during one of their operations (probably "Desert Storm") forced to drop the GPS scrambling that reduces the resolution of the system for non-military users. Embarrassingly, they didn't have enough military-version GPS receivers and instead had to use commercial receivers. According to the Philips press release, the Carin system to be supplied will (as quoted) be a regular, off-the-shelf version too.
"Then, will there be CD-ROMs with the necessary detailed maps from the dessert or the war zone? Strange all this. So please give me the URL you had this news from."
Strange indeed, and that's why it made it to "Wacky Press Releases." This one was published by Philips Car Products and distributed over the usual outlets (you can get it from PR Newswire, see the URL below.). I didn't quote all of it, that would've been just too boring. Besides, I guess anybody with some common sense can tell my comments from the original text (just watch out for [square brackets.])
Ironically, the press release gave a certain "Victor Pytko of Hill and Knowlton, 313-393-3300" as contact. Hill & Knowlton has some desert experience just read on for details.
Philips press release <http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/11-26-97/367870&EDATE=>
Axel K Stammler wrote in to remind me of my rather hasty offer to "compile a list of sites that deal with all those blatant lies disseminated during the so-called 'Operation Desert Storm.'"
"Well, you brought it on yourself. I really am interested, so I hope you get enough mail to make you compile that list."
So do I. Don't hold your breath as there will be almost no Sat-ND whatsoever for the next two weeks or so, there won't be such a list soon, either. But with some imagination and a good search engine you can discover some interesting things on your own.
Search, for instance, not only for keywords such as "Iraq" or "Kuwait" but also for "Hill & Knowlton", a U.S. public relations company without which there wouldn't have been any 'Operation Desert Storm' after all. Paid by Kuwait, they were more than successful in influencing U.S. public opinion.
For your convenience, I have provided a link for a detailed AltaVista search below that should give you something to read :-) If you're into books, I'd recommend "Second Front. Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War" by John R MacArthur (Hill and Wang, New York 1992, ISBN 0-8090-8517-8.) In German: "Die Schlacht der Lügen. Wie die USA den Golfkrieg verkauften." (dtv, ISBN 3-423-30352-2, DM 19,90.)
Hill and Knowlton Introductory page <http://www.hillandknowlton.com/>
Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
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