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Sat-ND, 15.1.98




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Today's Headlines
LAUNCHES
HMS Skynet 4 launched
SATELLITES
SS/L to build Intelsat 903, 904
TRW builds payloads
Teal forecasts 170 satellites per year
Telenor goes East
BUSINESS
Telesat in Africa
Bill in Space
NextLevel separates telephony from cable/satellite operations
CHANNELS
Gulf channel in June?
Cyprus moves from 7 to 5
TV5 to start on Arabsat
DIGITAL
Bad times for terrestrial, interactive TV
Grey market not quite dead yet
RUPERT WATCH
BIB launch in "second quarter"
FEEDBACK  Sat-ND, 9.1.98
Georgian TV
First HDTV Transmission?
Poles and such


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Editorial Note
Of course, this Sat-ND is late, but me and my computer (one of its hard
disks, actually) have had some health problems over the past few days. I'm
fine again, my computer isn't. That's why this Sat-ND is sent text-only. (My
apologies if the HTML has come through as well, but I don't think so.)
If you prefer HTML: I'll *try* to put this issue on the Sat-ND web sites
under
http://www.sat-net.com/pck/980115.htm and
http://www.lynet.de/~pck/980115.htm.
Thank you for your email which in most cases I have not been able to answer
yet. I'd like to mention one thing about "contributions": I don't mean
insider reports, full-blown stories or in-depth analysis, of course. (Well,
if you have such stuff, you may send it of course :-)
What I was trying to say: if you see something for instance in your local
newspaper that might be of interest, please send it. Thank you.
Top

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LAUNCHES
HMS Skynet 4 launched
In its first launch of the year a Boeing Delta II rocket successfully placed
Skynet 4D, a United Kingdom military communications satellite into orbit. It
was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Station.
The US$150 million satellite, built by Matra Marconi Space (MMS,) is the
first of three spacecraft replacing the existing satellites in order to
extend the Skynet 4 communications system. The Stage 2 satellite is an
enhanced version of the existing Skynet 4 satellites and two similar NATO IV
spacecraft. The new version incorporates steerable antennas for
super-high-frequency spot-beam communications, increased power and greater
anti-jamming capability.
As the existing UK satellites (Skynet 4A, B and C) reach the end of their
operational lives, after nearly a decade's service, they will be replaced by
three further satellites (Skynet 4D, E and F), known collectively as Skynet
4 Stage 2. The remaining two launches, this time using the European Ariane 4
launch vehicle, are planned for later in 1998 and 1999.
The new satellites will have an enhanced communications package and will
provide UHF (Ultra High Frequency) and SHF (Super-High Frequency)
communications services designed to support the UK armed forces in what the
UK's Ministry of Defence (MoD) called "enhanced roles, such as the NATO
Rapid Reaction Force and support of humanitarian aid anywhere in the Western
hemisphere."
The Skynet 4 Stage 2 programme is the subject of a fixed-price prime
contract placed by the MoD Procurement Executive with MMS in 1993. It covers
the design, production, launch, in-orbit testing and delivery in-orbit of
the satellites, together with the associated ground station work.
The Skynet 4D launch was the first from Pad 17B following completion of
modifications to accommodate Delta III launches beginning this year, in
addition to continuing to support Delta II launches.
Delta III, the newest Boeing expendable launch vehicle, is scheduled to make
its first flight this year. Designed and built specifically for the
commercial market, Delta III provides launch customers more options for
addressing payload requirements while maintaining the reliability of the
Delta heritage.
Top
USELESS FACT: Idi Amin, one of the most ruthless tyrants in the world served
in the British Army before coming to power.

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SATELLITES
SS/L to build Intelsat 903, 904
Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications
Ltd., has been awarded a contract to build two additional high-power
satellites for the International Telecommunications Satellite Organisation
(Intelsat).
Under the terms of the contract, SS/L will build and deliver Intelsat 903
and 904 in March and July, 2001, respectively. The satellites, to be
launched aboard Ariane launch vehicles, will provide voice/data and video
service over the Atlantic Ocean Region (AOR), providing services to North
America, South America, Europe, Africa, Greenland and Iceland.
Intelsat 901 and 902 are currently under construction by SS/L and are
scheduled to be delivered in the summer and late fall of 2000, respectively.
They will provide service over the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Each of the four satellites in the Intelsat IX series being built by SS/L
will operate 44 transponders in the C-band and 12 transponders in the
Ku-band. The satellites will carry a significantly greater percentage of
high-power amplifiers and solar array power than any previous Intelsat
series. The satellites, based on Space Systems/Loral's standard three-axis
spacecraft, will have a mission life in excess of 13 years.
SS/L has been the prime contractor on several previous Intelsat programs
including Intelsat V, Intelsat VII, and Intelsat VIIA.
Related Links
Intelsat <http://www.intelsat.int/>
Space Systems/Loral <http://www.ssloral.com/>
Top
USELESS FACT: A camel's backbone is just as straight as a horse's.


TRW builds payloads
TRW Space & Electronics Group will build the communications payloads for
Lockheed Martin Corp.'s Astrolink broadband satellite system.
Under the agreement, TRW has an option to become an investor in Astrolink,
though it has not exercised that option. The nine-satellite Ka-band
Astrolink system, which will offer services such as high-speed connections
to the Internet, is expected to start service in July 2000.
Observers noted that the ironic part of this was that Lockheed-Martin opened
a payload centre for excellence (CPC) not long ago, which is supposed to
build payloads for the Lockheed Martin organisation. It is surprising
therefore that the payloads have been subcontracted to TRW, who barely ever
do any commercial work (they have abandoned their Odyssey venture for lack
of funding) and who have specialised in government and military work until
now.
Top
USELESS FACT: Only male canaries can sing.


Teal forecasts 170 satellites per year
The Teal Group announced the publication of its first Worldwide Satellite
Market Forecast: 1998-2007. The study forecasts a total of 1,697 satellites
will be launched worldwide over the next 10 years, in other words: one every
other day. The study estimates that the value of these satellites will be
US$121 billion.
Of the total satellites forecasted, Teal estimates 1,201 of them, or 70%,
will be commercial communications satellites. The market value of these
satellites will be about US$58 billion. The remaining 30% of the satellites
will consist of military satellites, including communications,
early-warning, reconnaissance, and technology development; civil satellites,
including Earth observation and scientific; and commercial Earth imaging
satellites. The market value of these satellites will be about US$62.6
billion (US$30.6 billion for civil, US$28.6 billion for military, and US$3.8
billion for commercial Earth imaging.)
There will be two peaks or "waves" of satellites launched, states Teal Group
analyst Marco Caceres. "The first wave will occur during 1997-1999, led by
the first generation of commercial mobile communications satellites such as
Motorola's Iridiums, Loral's Globalstars and Orbital Sciences' Orbcomms."
There will be also a major growth in new direct TV broadcast satellites and
the need to replace telecommunications and traditional TV broadcast
satellites.
According to Caceres, a second wave will follow in 2004-2006, led by new
high-speed broadband multimedia communications satellites such as Motorola's
Celestri, Hughes' Expressway, Alcatel Espace/Loral's SkyBridge/CyberStar,
and Teledesic's Teledesic. The second wave will also be driven by the
second-generation replacements for the mobile communications systems.
Top
USELESS FACT: The mozzarella originally used in Italy for pizza, was made
from the milk of the water buffalo.


Telenor goes East
Telenor is opening a new satellite uplink for seven TV channels in
Bratislava in the Slovak Republic. Norway's Telenor will be distributing the
new channels digitally.
The new uplink station will receive signals from seven TV channels and put
the multiplexed signal through to Telenor's satellites at 1W. The digital
signals will then be received by antenna owners and cable companies
throughout the Nordic countries and Central Europe, Telenor said in a press
release.
The channels that are already being distributed via the new station are BBC
Prime, TV1 Estland, STV and VTV (both Slovakian). A Czech channel and
Shopping TV will also be on the air soon.
Telenor regards Central and Eastern Europe as important growth areas for
satellite business. There are already more than 700,000 families in the
Slovak and Czech Republic that are able to receive digital TV programmes via
satellite.
Telenor Slovakia has been central in establishing the new uplink station.
Business networks and Internet via satellite are major business areas for
Telenor Slovakia, in addition to the distribution of satellite television.
In 1998, it is estimated that the company will have a turnover of
approximately 6 million.
Top
USELESS FACT: The human wrist contains more bones than the ankle.

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BUSINESS
Telesat in Africa
African Continental Telecommunications Ltd. and Telesat Canada announced the
signing of two major contracts under which the Canadian satellite
communications company will play a key role in building African Continental
Telecommunications' new C$835 million pan-African satellite network.
Telesat will provide tracking, telemetry and control services by building
two earth stations and modifying two others over the next 14 months. These
facilities will support the African network's first satellite, recently
leased from American Mobile Satellite Corp., as well as the new satellite
that will replace the first one by 2002.
The first new station will be built in Gibraltar, at a facility leased from
the government, and will be Gibraltar's first such facility. The second will
be built in southern Africa. Telesat will also modify its own facility in
Ontario, Canada, and the BSkyB facility in Chilworth, England.
Under the second contract, Telesat will provide African Continental
Telecommunications with the professional steering and control capability to
"fly" the satellites over Africa over the next five years. Telesat
controllers will monitor the satellite round-the-clock to ensure reliability
of the communications service.
Top
USELESS FACT: There are more nutrients in the cornflake package itself than
there are in the actual cornflakes.


Bill in Space
The U.S. space agency NASA will consolidate its space operations, currently
performed at five field centres. A private operator will have responsibility
for all NASA space operations.
A Consolidated Space Operations Contract (CSOC) will next July be awarded to
one of two consortia (led by Boeing and Lockheed, respectively.) The
contract runs ten years and is worth US$4 to 6 billion. No typo: up to US$6
billion.
So, it's as one could expect: where big money lurks, the big guys are
already there. True, as we'll see, but there's a difference: each of the
consortia that apply for CSOC must comprise at least 25 percent of small
businesses. (I won't name them here, though: you probably won't know them
anyway.)
All this is not exactly new. However, Boeing now announced its expanded team
for CSOC. It includes three other major players:
Hughes Space and Communications Co., El Segundo, Calif.;
Lucent Technologies, Murray Hill, N.J.;
Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash..
Boeing said that "Hughes will apply commercial communications spacecraft
expertise to systems engineering and integration of CSOC space
communications elements ranging from NASA's Tracking and Data Relay
Satellites to commercial satellite operations opportunities.
"Lucent's depth and breadth of advanced communications technology,
commercial ground network operations and management expertise and
unparalleled heritage in commercial market research and development will
permit NASA to increase reliability, improve quality of service and lower
data services costs by using commercially available products and services.
"Microsoft brings its advanced technology and commercial applications tools
to facilitate the collection, distribution and processing of data among five
diverse NASA centers and package it for easy access by scientists and other
users. Early insight into new Microsoft products will allow the Boeing team
to leverage applications relevant to CSOC."
Should you wonder whether NASA can escape Microsoft, the answer is no. Mr
Gates' company is also on the list of Lockheed, Boeing's competitor.
Top
USELESS FACT: Lightning is five times hotter than the Sun.


NextLevel separates telephony from cable/satellite operations
NextLevel Systems, Inc., which is in the process of changing its name to
General Instrument Corporation, announced that it has placed its advanced
telephony business, Next Level Communications (NLC), in a new limited
partnership.
An entity controlled by Spencer Trask & Co., a New York technology
investment firm, is the operating general partner of the partnership and
General Instrument is the limited partner. Under the terms of a definitive
agreement, Spencer Trask has acquired approximately a 10% interest in the
NLC partnership, with the potential to acquire up to an additional 10% in
the future to the extent NLC's value exceeds US$700 million. General
Instrument contributed all of the assets and business of NLC and has
approximately an 80% limited partnership interest. GI has also made a US$75
million loan to the partnership to help fund NLC's continuing research and
product development. The new structure will also provide significant equity
to NLC employees.
Top
USELESS FACT: To strengthen a Damascus sword, the blade was plunged into a
slave.

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CHANNELS
Gulf channel in June?
According to the Kuwait-based Al-Watan newspaper, there are plans for a new
Dubai, UAE based satellite TV channel to be launched in June 1998.
It will be operated by a Kuwaiti company and have its administration offices
there. The company, with shareholders from all six Gulf Co-operation Council
states, will reportedly co-operate "with an American company specialising in
satellite television."
Top
USELESS FACT: The Aetherius Society believes Jesus is alive and well on the
planet Venus.


Cyprus moves from 7 to 5
The Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Cyprus has announced its
satellite TV channel will cease transmissions on Eutelsat II-F2, 7E, at the
end of next March.
The channel has been simulcast on the new Sirius 2 at 5E on 12.265 GHz h
since January, the Ministry said.
Top
USELESS FACT: The world's oceans contain 328 million cubic miles of sea
water.


TV5 to start on Arabsat
French language television will return to Arabsat soon, reported the Gulf
News Agency (GNA.)
TV5 will start test transmissions on January 24, the agency quoted an
Arabsat statement. Transmissions would be directed to viewers in the Middle
East and North Africa.
Last summer, Arabsat banned state-funded Canal France International (CFI)
for broadcasting a pornographic film around the Arab world instead of a
scheduled children's programme. (As reported, CFI is currently seeking
damages from France Télécom for a technical glitch at the uplink that caused
the wrong programme to be aired.)
Top
USELESS FACT: The placement of a donkey's eyes in its' heads enables it to
see all four feet at all times.

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DIGITAL
Bad times for terrestrial, interactive TV
A report by management consultant Datamonitor says that satellite
broadcasters will control about 65 percent of the European digital TV market
by 2002.
The balance, of course, is terrestrial and cable TV. But how big is the
market really? Big for plain vanilla TV. The report says that "While digital
terrestrial television will at some point extend to the vast majority of the
population, the high cost and limited demand for digital interactive
services will limit growth for the foreseeable future."
But satellite and cable will lead, according to Datamonitor. The number of
installed digital satellite set-top boxes will rise to 8.55 million in 2002,
but there will only be 1.44 million terrestrial set-top boxes. The total
digital base will be 13.4 million.
By the way: in several European countries, there will be no digital
terrestrial TV services by 2002 at all.
Top
USELESS FACT: Admiral Lord Nelson was less than 1.6 metres tall.


Grey market not quite dead yet
The Satellite Communications Association of Canada (SCAC) welcomed a
decision by a coalition of Canadian broadcasters to suspend its Federal
Court lawsuit against them but said it still wants Canadians to be able to
subscribe to U.S. services.
The SCAC says it has received formal notice that a court action against them
is "in abeyance" as WIC Premium Television, TMN Networks and the Family
Channel suspended their action aimed at blocking the sale of hardware
designed to receive U.S. satellite services.
ExpressVu had earlier withdrawn from the lawsuit after some dish retailers
threatened to boycott the sale of their equipment if drawn into a legal
action.
SCAC President Brian Dinsdale said he will continue the fight for Canadian
TV viewers to subscribe to American direct-to-home satellite services not
licensed to operate in Canada. The SCAC will proceed with its own Charter of
Rights case, arguing that freedom of expression is being violated by the
current interpretation of the Radio Communication Act.
Top
USELESS FACT: There is a town in Newfoundland, Canada called Dildo.

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RUPERT WATCH
by Dr Sarmaz
BIB launch in "second quarter"
There has been some speculation about whether Luxembourg satellite operator
SES would have to move one of its satellites to make sure Mr Murdoch is able
to launch his digital TV service for the UK in time.
But which one? Of course, Sat-ND is not the place for such guessing games 
especially as Mr Murdoch's BSkyB now gave the launch date as "in the second
quarter" which indicates a delay of one month, compared with the original
target "late spring." By the way; that only applies to conventional (yet
digital) TV, not the proposed interactive services which are slated for
launch in October earliest.
Apart from the fact that nobody knows then the Astra 2A satellite will be up
and running, BIB has to face several other problems. The most obvious is
that receiver manufacturer Pace said it will not be able to begin producing
the set-top boxes needed for reception in its current fiscal year  which
ends in May. The delay in manufacturing satellite TV set-top boxes was owing
to development work, not cost, said Pace CEO Malcom Miller. BSkyB has
commissioned one million digital set-top boxes from four manufacturers,
including Pace and Amstrad.
EU still to approve BIB
Besides, there is no regulatory approval yet by the EU Commission. BSkyB
assured in a press release that "BIB, together with its shareholders, is
working closely with DG4 at the European Commission to secure regulatory
approval of its plans. OFTEL, the OFT, the DTI, the ITC and the British
Government have all expressed their support for the project."
EU officials are not quite that enthusiastic, as they see BIB acting as a
"gatekeeper" which, be controlling the set-top box, could potentially block
other programme providers. Reportedly, the EU commission has received a
large number of comments from third parties "which raise a number of
fundamental concerns about the structure of the operation." Recent reports
also suggest that some of the set-top box manufacturers were holding off
production until regulators clarified their position on BIB, which will
provide provide subsidies for the boxes.
So, what will happen? BSkyB said in its statement that it will "give a
status report on its digital and interactive services including some detail
of the Company's digital launch and roll out plans at the time of its
interim results in early February."
BSkyB also said that SES had confirmed "that a spare Astra satellite
[presumably 1D] is going to moved to the new orbital position to ensure that
digital transponder capacity will be available for BSkyB by the spring of
this year."
And besides, "the Company is confident that there will be significant
volumes available for the key fourth-quarter selling period."
Top
USELESS FACT: The Anglo-Saxons believed Friday to be such an unlucky day
that they ritually slaughtered any child unfortunate enough to be born on
that day.

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FEEDBACK  Sat-ND, 9.1.98
Thanks to all contributors!


Georgian TV
Abdullah Saglam has found the Georgian TV channel and wrote:
"As you guess it is only a digital television channel, and they are using
Turksat 1C."
Top


First HDTV Transmission?
Dirk Tust writes:
"Of course there were many HDTV satellite transmissions long before the US
of A woke up."
First and above all, in Japan where the first HDTV test transmission was in
1985, the first HDTV satellite transmission in 1986, etc. Today, there are
17 hours of HDTV programmes daily.
There were also some HDTV transmissions in Europe:
"The European analogue HDTV System HD-MAC never came beyond irregular test
transmissions via satellite and cable. As far as I know, almost all
satellite test transmissions were done via at least one of the DBS
satellites at 19 degrees west (TV-SAT 2, TDF 1/2, Olympus). The great HD-MAC
events were the football [soccer] world championship 1990 in Italy, and in
1992 the Olympic Games in Albertville and Barcelona as well as the European
football championship.
Top


Poles and such
Hey, I loved the article on the Polish thing. I'm sorry to see you didn't
like Mr Gillingwater's suggestions. However, I think these will fare
slightly better:
danish (a kind of pastry) becomes Danish (someone from Denmark)
dalmatian (a dog) becomes Dalmatian (someone from Dalmatia in Canada  ok,
not quite a nationality)
swede (a vegetable) becomes Swede (not an adjective, i know)
Dominic Sedghi, Sat-UK <http://www.sat-net.com/sat-uk/>
Top



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