Sat-ND, 16.12.1997 This is not the time to wonder
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Useless facts about [U.S.] Americans
In a last-minute accord, Intelsat and Columbia Communications Corporation have resolved the 41/40.5° W orbital slot issue.
Under the terms of the agreement, Columbia will cease operation of the TDRS-4 spacecraft at 41°W by 15 May 1998. In its place, Columbia will take title to the Intelsat 515 spacecraft, to be renamed Columbia 515, and begin operating that satellite by 1 April 1998 at 37.5° W. Columbia will lease back to Intelsat at no charge a number of transponders on the Columbia 515 satellite.
In announcing today's agreement, Intelsat Director General and Chief Executive Officer, Irving Goldstein, said, "We're delighted to achieve an amicable resolution of this issue and we're ready to provide service immediately on the Intelsat 806 once the satellite becomes operational."
The Intelsat 806 spacecraft will be launched in March 1998 for operation at 40.5°W. It is a "hot bird" for Latin America broadcasters and Intelsat already has a strong community of customers for the satellite.
Columbia Communications President and Chief Operating Officer, Ken Gross, said, "Today's agreement with Intelsat enables us to serve our growing customer base as we prepare for the launch of two new satellites by 2001. From its new location at 37.5° W, the Columbia 515 satellite will provide excellent coverage of North and South America, Europe, and Africa at aggressively low prices."
Columbia Communications Corporation is a U.S. telecommunications company which has been providing domestic and international voice, data and video services between Asia, North America and Europe since 1992.
Intelsat has filed for the position 40.5°W with the International Telecommunication Union, but so far haven't used it to full extent. The TDRS satellite at 41°W, a position filed by the U.S. government, provides Tracking and Data Relay Services (hence the name) for NASA. In addition, it also has some C band capacity on board that is leased by Columbia Communications.
To avoid interference and "increase competition," Intelsat agreed to temporarily reduce activity on 40.5° until December 31, 1997." (Sat-ND, 16.4.96 [beware, it was still in German back then] and 17.5.1996.) As from January 1, 1998 Intelsat holds the right for interference-free operation from 40.5°W.
Miss the Useless Facts bit?
Once again, Intelsat shows satellite ping-pong at its best. The Intelsat Board of Governors has approved the deployment of the Intelsat 605 satellite to the key role of 27.5°W in the Atlantic Ocean Region, the organisation said in a statement.
In September, the Board of Governors had decided to [ping!] redeploy this satellite to 29.5°W, and then [pong!] to 31.5°W. The new decision to assign this spacecraft to [ping!] the 27.5W location represents the conclusion of extensive analyses and tests which began on September 11 (when 605 experienced a telemetry anomaly,) and Intelsat's success in devising a ground-based solution to compensate for the loss of the telemetry information (Sat-ND, 16.9./25.10.97.)
At the time the telemetry anomaly was detected in September, the 605 was located at [pong!] 24.5°W, the primary position for public switched service and SS/TDMA traffic over the Atlantic. As with any anomaly, Intelsat Operations immediately initiated contingency plans to ensure that no traffic would be interrupted or preempted. To accomplish this, satellites were redeployed and traffic reassigned, while the 605 situation could be assessed.
In an additional decision at this meeting, the Intelsat Board of Governors approved the launch and deployment of Intelsat 806 to 40.5°W. Intelsat 806 is currently scheduled for launch in March 1998.
France, Britain and Germany have signed a memorandum of understanding to build a military satellite telecommunications system called "Trimilsatcom" by 2005.
The three countries plan to award two parallel competitive study contracts to the expected prime contractors, Alcatel Alsthom and Matra-Marconi Space. The project is expected to cost US$2.2 billion.
The new programme involves the joint development, manufacture and launch of a constellation of at least four geostationary satellites, which will be owned by the three partner nations. The satellite system will also replace France's Syracus 2 system and the UK's Skynet system.
NASA will use its Total Ozone Mapping System-Earth Probe (TOMS-EP) to monitor ozone trends for an additional three years following the loss of the Advanced Earth Observing Satellite (ADEOS; Sat-ND, 10.7.1997.)
TOMS-EP was boosted into a 740 km sun-synchronous orbit from its 500 km orbit through a series of thruster burns over nine days by a TRW/NASA team earlier this month. The higher altitude will widen the coverage of the TOMS instrument and exert less atmospheric drag on the TRW-built satellite, enabling it to provide measurements for several years beyond its two-year design life.
NASA decided to boost TOMS-EP following the failure of the Japanese-built ADEOS satellite, which carried two NASA ozone tracking instruments. While some smaller scale aerosol and ozone research performed by TOMS-EP will not be gathered, scientists will receive continuous ozone data until the next Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer instrument is launched in the year 2000 on a Russian Meteor-3M spacecraft.
TRW built the 650-pound satellite and integrated the TOMS-EP instrument for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. TOMS-EP initially took over the ozone monitoring role from Russian Meteor-3 satellite, which completed its mission in December 1994.
Loral Skynet that it has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of Spectrum Satellite, Inc., Richmond, Calif. And in conjunction with that deal, Loral had quite a lot more to announce.
The US$3.3 million cash transaction, together with a US$4 million expansion and refurbishment of Loral Skynet's Hawley, Pa., earth station, will allow the company to enhance its services by providing a link to the rapidly growing Asia Pacific and South American markets.
Spectrum Satellite is a full-service, domestic and international gateway that provides satellite groundstation and mobile microwave services for video, data, telephony and Internet applications. The gateway will provide Loral Skynet's customers 24-hour access to the Pacific Rim, as well as to North and South America and Europe. The gateway will also provide backup services for Loral Skynet's Hawley earth station. Spectrum Satellite has 11 antennas currently in operation, five under construction and authority to construct a total of up to 31 antennas.
Loral Skynet in addition announced that it will offer a new digital program transport service that will allow cable operators and other programming distributors to offer a broad range of new channels and services. Loral Skynet will provide Skynet Digital Video Service from uplinking facilities it agreed to acquire from Spectrum Satellite.
Loral Skynet also announced it will create a neighbourhood on its Telstar satellites to distribute Asian video programming and other digital video services from Asia to North America.
Using the gateway in Richmond, Calif., Loral Skynet will compress analogue and digital signals from various sources, including international and domestic satellites, and redistribute the signals digitally from its Telstar satellites. This advanced service will help significantly reduce operators' costs for digital conversion and will provide cable operators with an incentive to upgrade channel capacity. By delivering the digital signals from the Telstar satellites, Loral Skynet will offer operators access to the continental United States, and Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico.
Just in case you'd like to know, here's something about Asiasat 3 from a press release.
AsiaSat 3, a high-power satellite built by Hughes Space and Communications Co. for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Co. Limited (Asiasat) is slated for launch December 23, 2318 UTC from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Proton rocket. It is the second spacecraft supplied by Hughes to Hong Kong-based AsiaSat.
The launch is the ninth and last for Hughes this year, and is also the company's fourth launch in the month of December. AsiaSat 3 is scheduled for launch on a Proton rocket at 4:18 a.m. Tuesday (3:18 p.m. Monday in Los Angeles, 11:18 p.m. Monday GMT).
AsiaSat 3 is an HS 601HP or high-power satellite, featuring 9900 watts of power. It will increase AsiaSat's capacity to distribute television and telecommunications services to Asia, the Middle East, Australasia and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The satellite will carry 28 active C-band transponders using 55-watt travelling wave tube amplifiers (TWTAs). It will also carry 16 active Ku-band transponders using 138-watt TWTAs. These transponders will operate through two 107-inch-diameter shaped surface antennas.
One antenna, mounted on the east side of the satellite and operating in C-band, will provide broad-band coverage of Asia and Australasia. The west-side antenna will operate in Ku-band and provide focused area coverage of East Asia.
A 50-inch diameter, dual-gridded shaped surface antenna, operating in Ku-band, will provide focused area coverage of South Asia. In addition, a 40-inch-diameter Ku-band steerable spot-beam antenna will allow AsiaSat 3 to direct coverage to any area on the Earth's surface which is visible from the spacecraft's orbital location of 105.5° East longitude.
AsiaSat 3 is designed for 15 years of service after delivery in-orbit. It will join AsiaSat 1, an HS 376 spin-stabilized spacecraft, also built by Hughes and launched in 1990. Both satellites are controlled from an integrated satellite control facility in Hong Kong, which was also built by Hughes.
Russia's Strategic Space Forces on Monday launched Kosmos 2348, a military satellite, from the country's northern Plesetsk cosmodrome.
As my favourite news agency noted, "such satellites are normally used to take pictures of the earth's surface from space." How nasty! Itar-Tass was kind enough not only to report that the satellite has meanwhile reached its orbit it also gave the the following details:
Period: 89.6 minutes
Apogee: 370 km
Perigee: 176 km
Poland's regional public television broadcasters will pool their resources and launch closer co-operation next year in the wake of license allocations to commercial regional channels.
The so-called regional commercial channels will in effect probably offer not much more that a "TV North" and a "TV South" in addition to a few local channels in major cities.
Poland has two nationwide public channels, and critics have said the plan will effectively create one more, dubbed "TVP3," at the cost of distinctive individual regional output.
Joanna Bancerowska, deputy head of Telewizja Polska SA's management board office, told my favourite news agency that "There˙ will be no third all-Poland channel, no one in public television would ever dream of liquidating regional programmes."
Not everything that is shown on TV is of a regional nature, though. Instead of 10 general programmes so far separately produced by regional stations, one station will be selected to provide programming that will be broadcast by the others ones, not necessarily at the same time.
The stations will in effect save money that in turn will be used to finance high-quality regional programming as well as buying foreign programming for common use. Besides, the programme exchange between the regional channels that so far was based on swapping video cassettes will go satellite next year.
According to Bancerowska, the regional channels aim at 10 hours of common programming a day in addition to five hours of regional broadcasts, consisting mainly of local news and current affairs. The regional stations have so far, according to Gazeta Wyborcza, attracted no more than five percent of the daily audience in Poland. Currently, they reach just 60 percent of the country's potential TV audience.
Telewizja Polska <http://www.tvp.com.pl/>
Germany is probably the country with the worst TV channels anywhere, with a few exceptions. What's worse, there's also an abundance of existing and planned music TV channels probably because every idiot thinks he or she can set up one.
After all, it's the cheapest kind of programming you can think of apart from, maybe, a 24-hour fishcam. The result could be seen on German TV screens, if people only tuned in. In general, they don't. No music channel attracts a significant share of overall viewing, and so far all those channels are thought to be unprofitable.
In this situation, German music and record company Immediate Entertainment Group Inc ("Immediate") announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent with a U.S. multimedia group to purchase a controlling interest in its German Music TV network. Neither the company nor the channel was named in Immediate's press release.
However, that very channel was "a rapidly growing advertiser-sponsored television network which broadcasts popular music and contemporary programming 18 hours per day to an audience of over 14.5 million households. Its audiences are based throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland and the company has a satellite footprint throughout other European countries." (Please note that I did not edit the text between the quotation marks.)
There are three digital TV services in France. Are there?
Groupe AB announced today that AB Sports, its sports dedicated thematic channel, will begin broadcasting in the basic DTH service of Canalsatellite at 6:30 PM this evening.
AB Sports is the second of Groupe AB's channels to be broadcast directly to Canalsatellite's 650,000 basic subscribers. Nostalgie-la-tele, a thematic music channel, has been broadcast in Canalsatellite's basic service since April 1997.
Groupe AB is the largest independent producer and distributor of television programming in France. It creates, develops, produces and acquires television programming, which it distributes in France and French-speaking Europe, as well as in over 45 countries. The Company owns or controls the rights to over 30,000 hours of French-language programming.
While that's all true, of course, it's also true that Groupe AB, through its wholly owned subsidiary AB Sat, also operates a digital DTH service of its own that so far has not attracted too many subscribers. The latest available figures for AB Sat's rivals are as follows: Canalsatellite 500,000; TPS 320,000. The last available official figure for ABSat was 20,000 with an estimation of 75,000 at year's end.
Kelly Broadcasting Systems gave up on its effort to obtain AlphaStar assets. It's now after transponder capacity aboard a satellite the former U.S./Canadian DTH service used before it filed for bankruptcy (Sat-ND, 11.8.97.)
Kelly announced Monday it has entered into a long term satellite transponder agreement with Space Systems Loral to acquire high power Ku-Band satellite capacity on Telstar 5 The transponders became available in early August 1997, the same time Alphastar went dark.
Kelly said it intends to use transponders aboard Telstar 5 for a multichannel Arabic language bouquet of international programming available through a 24-inch satellite dish antenna. The proposed service will be offered throughout North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii.
While the satellites transponders are gone, a U.S.-based company by the name of Champion Holding has bought at least the remaining assets of AlphaStar's U.S. operation for US$4.6 million. It said it will re-launch the service at a date to be announced early next year.
The service will not only keep the AlphaStar name but also the staff, Champion president and CEO Mahmoud Wahba told the San Juan Star. The paper said Champion's future plans call for restoring service in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Hawaii and working towards the US mainland.
As reported by my good old friend Quentin J Esrom in his fabulous Sensible and Serious Satellite News (SSSN, 14.11.97,) Canadian DTH digital service ExpressVu "offer Canadian 'grey market' satellite dish owners a credit on programming equal to the before tax purchase price of their ExpressVu set-top box and dish."
The "grey market", of course, comprises subscribers of those evil U.S. DTH services as receiving them is illegal north of the border. Star Choice, in its own words "Canada's leading digital satellite television company," has in turn enhanced its offer to Canadians who subscribe to unauthorized U.S. satellite television services.
Effective immediately, Canadians who trade-in their U.S. equipment can receive up to C$800 in Star Choice programming credits. Once customers use the full programming credit, they are free to choose any Star Choice programming package they wish. Packages range in price from C$8.99 to C$44.99 per month.
Star Choice has already successfully converted many Canadians who were subscribing to unauthorized U.S. services. "We were very dissatisfied with our previous U.S. satellite television service," the company quoted Dorothy and Murray Shapiro of Ingonish, Nova Scotia, in a press release. "We now receive great Canadian and U.S. programming from a company that is dependable, responsive and one hundred percent home-grown."
Yeah.... just a short reminder that the parent company of one of the providers of Star Choice reception equipment, Norsat International Inc. was recently banned from offering digital receivers for U.S. DTH services (Sat-ND, 28.11.97.)
Hitachi, Ltd. and Thomson Consumer Electronics Inc. have agreed to jointly develop HDTV sets for the introduction of HDTV digital terrestrial broadcasting in the U.S. in the Fall of 1998.
Nah, not interested. Good luck!
EchoStar Communications Corporation today announced that DISH Network has activated its one millionth customer.
Great! Congrats! Not interested anyway.
Hong Kong plans to light up the Great Wall of China with lasers beamed from satellites to mark the turn of the century at midnight on December 31, 1999.
Which, as everybody knows, is one year to early. The next century as well as the next millennium will begin no earlier than January 1, 2001. It's not a mistake of the Chinese who may have a different calendar anyway.
The London-based "Millennium" Foundation, which is organising global "millenary" celebrations, has asked the Hong Kong Cancer Fund charity [!] to oversee Chinese and Hong Kong festivities, reported the South China Morning Post.
The "Millennium" Foundation is co-ordinating events to mark the stroke of midnight in a live global television broadcast starting in Fiji and ending in the Cook Islands 23 hours later. Unfortunately, they do it in the wrong year. Idiots!
Yummy! I found brand-new data for my useless fact database.
In a telephone survey of 935 adult U.S. citizens, 60 percent of the respondents said there was "intelligent life on other planets." [What do they mean by other planets? They should've asked whether there was any intelligent life down here, just as Eric Idle did if I remember correctly. No, sorry, there isn't!]
And just like people in the stone ages who invented some gods, modern people think up some supernatural beings: 47 percent think that aliens are more intelligent than us. Besides, 86 percent think our galactic neighbours were friendly rather than hostile. Quite likely, because otherwise they would have sent some "peace-keeping troops" down here that would have eradicated the Earth's most prominent enemy: the human.
To annoy you, here's my personal opinion: yes, there very likely are various kinds of life forms somewhere out there, the majority of which probably is not as advanced as mankind. [I don't want to use the word "intelligent" in this context as it means something completely different.] In any case, they will not resemble humans at all. But does it matter? No. Not at all! Humans should start make this world a better place right now and instead stop staring up the skies, waiting for supernatural beings to come down on them.
...another contribution to International Useless Facts Month. These "facts" are freely available on the World Wide Web. I did not check them, but if only half of this stuff is true, it explains quite a lot.
314 Americans had buttock lift surgery in 1994.
9% of Americans report having been in the presence of a ghost.
Percentage of Americans who say that God has spoken to them: 36.
98% of American drivers think they drive better than anyone else. [Probably not better than the aliens in their flying saucers, though.]
About 96% of all American children can recognize Ronald McDonald. [Or do they confuse him with Ronald Reagan?]
About a third of all Americans flush the toilet while they're still sitting on it.
About one third of American adults are at least 20 percent above their recommended weight.
Americans use over 16,000 tons of aspirin a year. [A result of looking up to the skies every night, waiting for aliens to abduct them, or waiting for God to talk to them, or yearning for some ghost to appear?]
Estimated percentage of American adults who go on a diet each year: 44.
Impotence is legal grounds for divorce in 24 American states.
In 75% of American households, women manage the money and pay the bills.
Many Americans are not tidy, half of them leave their clothes on the floor, and 21 percent never make a bed.
Only 55% of all Americans know that the sun is a star. [Yep, true space experts they are. But they know that Aliens are more intelligent!]
Polls show that 75% of American adults do not know that antibiotics kill bacteria but not viruses.
Six percent of all American men are killed by either their wife or girlfriend -- or wife who caught them with their girlfriend.
Volleyball is the most popular sport played in American nudist camps.
Two million Americans go to the doctor with heartburn every day. [They maybe frustrated for not having been abducted by an alien.]
Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
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