Sat-ND, 29.01.1998 The Void
This service is provided free of charge for personal use. It may be used and redistributed for non-commercial purposes only, provided the following notice is included: © Copyright 1998 by Peter C Klanowski
Further information: http://www.lynet.de/~pck/ or http://www.sat-net.com/pck/
Comments and contributions: pck@lyNet.De
Da Horror!! Unsubscribe right now!!!
This does not work with all browsers. For information on how to do it manually, have a look at the end of this message.
sponsored by TELE-satellite International
More international mailings lists: http://www.sat-net.com/
Looking for a specific channel on satellite? Try http://www.satcodx.com/
Technical questions? Find the answers at http://www.drdish.com/
100 TV sets for poor Lisa
The U.S. Air Force tried to launch an Atlas 2A rocket with a classified payload on board from Cape Canaveral Air Station on Monday, on Tuesday, on Wednesday... and today.
The days before the launch had been scrapped for various reasons: strong high-level winds, an off-shore military exercise and even thick clouds. It wasn't quite clear whether the fourth attempt would be successful the countdown was halted twice; the first time because of bad upper level wind readings and then again following a glitch that involved readings received from batteries aboard the rocket.
But at last, the classified payload was launched at 1837 UTC. The only thing known about the payload is that it is a spacecraft designed, built and to be operated by the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO.) Experts reportedly think it's "a research and development test spacecraft."
The 105th flight of the European Ariane launcher is scheduled for tomorrow Friday, 2329 UTC. An Ariane 44lP equipped with two solid and two liquid strap-on boosters will put into orbit Inmarsat 3-F5 and Brasilsat B3.
Brasilsat B-3 is an HS 376W spin-stabilized communications satellite built by Hughes Space and Communications and similar to Brasilsat B-1 and B-2 spacecraft now in orbit. EMBRATEl, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's leading telecommunications company, operates the satellites. Promon Engenharia SA of Sao Paulo, Brazil, shared in the ground station engineering work.
like the other spacecraft, Brasilsat B-3 is a general communications satellite, carrying voice, data, corporate networks and television over 28 C-band transponders. The satellite is expected to operate for more than 12 years. It has one beam for national service and a second regional beam that focuses higher power on the major urban areas.
The previous Brasilsat B satellites also rode on European Ariane rockets -- B-1 on Aug. 10, 1994, and B-2 on March 28, 1995.
The second satellite, Inmarsat-3F5, built in New Jersey by lockheed Martin Corp., will provide mobile telecommunications for the london-based international satellite operator Inmarsat. It is the fifth and final satellite in the Inmarsat-3 series.
Inmarsat's london Satellite Control Centre (SCC) will monitor the launch and manage the post-launch activities. The spacecraft will be launched into a highly elliptical transfer orbit of 200 x 36,000 km. A series of manoeuvres will then be conducted which will place the spacecraft in near geosynchronous orbit and moving towards its testing location at 28 degrees East.
The satellite will serve as a fully functional spare for the series which already comprises four successful satellites. It will also, in the near future, carry commercial communications, providing additional capacity for maritime, aeronautical and land mobile communications in the Indian Ocean and Atlantic Ocean East coverage regions.
A key feature of the Inmarsat-3 satellites is their ability to concentrate power on particular areas of high traffic. Each satellite utilises up to a maximum of seven spot beams, depending on traffic demands, and one global beam. Inmarsat-3 is eight times more powerful than the previous generation of Inmarsat-2 satellites.
By the way: Inmarsat will use its own satellite system to put a live video feed of the rocket launch on the World Wide Web. Utilising the Inmarsat-B-system, which offers transmission rates of 64kbps, the feed from the European Space Centre in Kourou will be transmitted to wherever the Inmarsat Web Server may be located [I don't know where it is but it's most certainly not in French Guiana.] Anyway, the feed can be seen in real time, Friday, January 30 starting at 23:00 GMT on the Inmarsat web site using Microsoft NetShow version 2.0.
Sorry, folks. This is yet another issue of this so-called newsletter that is not Orbital-free.
Orbital Sciences Corporation will launch NASA's Student Nitric Oxide Explorer (SNOE) satellite aboard the company's Pegasus Xl rocket [did I already mention that this sounds like a condom brand?] on February 4, 1998. BATSAT, a communications satellite built by Orbital, will also fly on the mission as a secondary payload. The launch will originate from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and is subject to final preparations and testing, as well as acceptable weather conditions at the launch site.
The SNOE spacecraft and its instruments were designed and built by a student team at the University of Colorado's laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. The 114-kg satellite will investigate the effects of energy from the sun and the magnetosphere on the density of nitric oxide in the Earth's upper atmosphere, which may be important to ozone chemistry in the middle atmosphere as well. BATSAT is a 70-kg commercial communications satellite based on Orbital's MicroStar spacecraft platform.
The SNOE/BATSAT launch, the first of eight Pegasus missions scheduled for 1998, represents the rocket's 20th mission since its debut in 1990.
Five Iridium satellites will be carried into orbit Saturday, Jan. 31 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., aboard a Boeing Delta II. This is the first launch of the year for the international telecommunications consortium...
...but much to my dismay by no means the last. The company aims to have all 66 satellites launched by April, to have its six ground stations up in May, and to open the network to the public in September, 1998.
It will be the seventh launch by a Boeing Delta II for Motorola, prime contractor and manufacturer of the satellite for the Iridium system. The Iridium system is scheduled to provide global, wireless telecommunications late this year.
During Saturday's Delta mission, the first of the five Iridium satellites will be placed into transfer orbit one hour and two minutes after lift-off, 22 and a half minutes later all five spacecraft will be in transfer orbit. Each satellite will position itself into final orbit with a self-contained propulsion system.
As all the above is from a Boeing press release, it seems the problems regarding the second stage of the Delta II were not as severe as earlier reported (Sat-ND, 24.1.98.)
In related news, Xinhua news agency reported that Beijing has approved a plan Motorola to set up a ground station in China for its Iridium satellite telecommunications system.
Motorola would provide US$30 million worth of equipment for the station, one of six to be set up world-wide, Xinhua said, quoting an official from Motorola Electronics (China) ltd. It added a satellite telecommunications company controlled by China's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications would build the facility and recruit staff for the station, which would cost about US$50 million in total.
China Great Wall Industry Corp successfully launched two Motorola-owned Iridium satellites last December on a special "Iridium" version of its Chang Zheng rocket and had been reportedly contracted to launch 20 more.
It has been officially confirmed that Société Européenne des Satellites, the luxembourg-based operating company of the Astra satellite system, will move one of its satellites from 19.2 to 28.2° E in order to help Rupert Murdoch having his digital TV venture launched in time.
The move had become necessary after the failure of an accelerator block on the Russian Proton rocket during a flight last December. The block called DM-4 will also be used to launch Astra 2A, the satellite to carry all that digital TV for the UK. Unfortunately, there will be no Proton launch before the fault has been identified. And after all, the original launch date for Astra 2A was August, 1997. (Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to book a Proton launch anyway.)
Details? Nope. However, SES let it be known that details will be announced in early February. For technical reasons, it is widely expected that the satellite to be moved will in fact be Astra 1D, the fourth of SES' "analogue" satellites at 19.2° E. Its functions will be replaced by spare transpondcrs aboard the other seven satellites at that position.
The switch from 1D to backup capacity is expected to take place over night, so viewers may notice at most an outage of a few minutes on some channels but no difference afterwards. Quite unlike Astra 1D which will in fact have to use precious fuel to move to its new position using its own thrusters (and then, after the launch of Astra 2A, maybe use even more fuel to move back.) In other words: those manoeuvres will shorten Astra 1D's operational life span.
It's quite remarkable, of course, that SES would make Rupert Murdoch such a gift (and if it's in the Astra 2A lease contract, then the contract is quite remarkable.) However, SES has in the past heavily relied on Mr Murdoch's urgent need for European transponder capacity. He even paid the full lease for his first four Astra 1A transponders in advance for the satellite's expected life time of ten years. Over the following years, Mr Murdoch kept complaining about the high leasing rates and even threatened SES to set up a satellite system of his own. He hasn't done so, even though financing would have been no problem.
So, both SES and BSkyB will obviously keep depending on each other. (SES also seems to depend on a host of German public regional channels carried on Astra, each believed to pay the equivalent of US$7 million per annum for their respective transponders. Nobody could so far really explain why regional broadcasters have use satellites that cover most of Europe.)
Satellite television. Satellite radio. Satellite phones. Internet via satellite. Anything else? Yes. Newspapers.
Nothing new really. In Europe, satellites have been used to transmit ready-to-print pages of newspapers for at least ten years. A well-known U.S. satellite business paper, "Space News," has its European edition printed in london. It is very likely transmitted via satellite from the U.S. it probably takes just a few minutes [and then it takes the UK and the German mail up to five days to carry a copy to my place which is just 70 flight minutes away from london. Modern times. Brave new world. Oh great.]
But now for the news. Orion Network Systems, Inc. has been selected by USA Today, a Gannett Co. Publication [Space News happens to be one, too] to distribute the newspaper's international editions electronically via an Orion-developed voice and data communications network, allowing on-time, reliable processing and delivery of USA Today to readers across the European and Asian regions.
Following the terms of the agreement, Orion began distributing the news outside the U.S. for USA Today earlier this month and will continue providing this data management service through 2002. Orion has established a communications network from the newspaper's headquarters and central broadcast facility in Arlington, Va., where the newspaper is created electronically everyday. From this site, Orion will send the information to USA Today's main printing facilities in london, Frankfurt am Main and Hong Kong. Orion's network will help USA Today reach more than 90 foreign countries across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Australia.
Orion has constructed a turn-key network solution of VSATs (very small aperture terminals) linked to the Orion 1 satellite in Europe and to leased transponders in Asia. The contract also includes Orion's monitoring the USA Today network and evaluating the network's performance. While supporting the network, Orion will work with USA Today to transition the company to advanced broadcasting technologies including multicasting, for future worldwide distribution.
Hughes Space and Communications Co. has received a US$423 million fixed-price contract from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for the design, manufacture, integration and launch of two Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites, known as "GOES."
The GOES program is funded and operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The GOES satellites provide meteorological measurements and data to NOAA, NASA and to representatives of the meteorological and academic communities and to countries around the world. Under terms of the contract, Hughes will provide two spacecraft to be delivered in geostationary orbit. Designated GOES N and GOES O, the satellites will ensure continuity of the GOES East and GOES West spacecraft will be available for launch onboard Boeing Delta III vehicles in 2001 and 2003.
The contract also includes fixed-price options for two additional spacecraft, GOES P and GOES Q, priced at US$190.9 million and US$185 million, respectively. The new satellites are based on Hughes' HS 601 platform.
In addition, Hughes will furnish the satellite's communications subsystem with a search and rescue capability to detect distress signals from ships and airplanes, and will also furnish space environmental monitoring instruments and operator training. Ground station upgrades required for the new GOES satellites will be provided by Integral Systems Inc. Hughes will also integrate three government-furnished instruments: an imager and sounder built by ITT Industries Inc. and a solar X-ray imager built by lockheed Martin.
The imager is a multispectral five-channel instrument that produces visual and infrared images of Earth's surface, oceans, cloud cover and severe storm developments. The multi-spectral sounder provides vertical temperature and moisture profiles of the atmosphere augmenting data from the imager. Sounder data is also used in computer models which produce short- and long-range weather forecasts.
A new solar X-ray imager will monitor the sun's X-rays for the early detection of solar flares. This early warning is important because these solar flares affect not only the safety of humans in high-altitude missions, such as the Space Shuttle, but also affect satellite (and terrestrial) communications as well as power supply facilities on Earth.
The GOES satellites also carry space environment instruments, built by Panametrics Inc., which monitor particle emissions including solar protons, alpha particles and electrons. These instruments also include a magnetometer, built by Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), which samples the Earth's magnetosphere.
With GOES N and O, Hughes will have built a total of seven spacecraft in the GOES series. The first Hughes-built GOES satellite, GOES D, was launched in 1980. This was followed by GOES E in 1981, GOES F in 1983, GOES G in 1986 (booster failed during launch) and GOES H in 1987.
A Sat-ND ad hoc committee has chosen a press release issued today by Australian telecommunications provider Telstra as the "most boring press release since the invention of press releases and maybe even before." For your information, we'll reprint it in part.
Telstra has described a recent decision by ICO Global Communications and TRW Inc. to join forces as a significant step forward in ICO's plans to introduce a global hand-held satellite phone service by the year 2000.
Under the agreement TRW will invest approximately US$100 million in ICO and will receive 1.5 million ICO shares, or approximately 7 per cent of ICO's current outstanding shares, having a face value of US$150 million.
It is anticipated TRW will provide certain engineering expertise to ICO and the companies will grant each other cross licenses for their respective patents relating to global telecommunications systems. TRW will receive certain distribution rights in the United States for ICO products and services, and the parties will dismiss their respective patent litigation.
TRW plans to hand back the license it received from the US Federal Communications Commission for the Odyssey project, to make available spectrum needed by other space based, global personal communications services. TRW brings a number of important technical, regulatory and business development skills to ICO which will further enhance ICO capabilities in these areas.
Telstra is the only Australian investor in ICO, a london based private company [a commercial Inmarsat offspring, that is] which is developing a system to deliver digital voice, fax data and messaging all over the world through hand-held user terminals similar in appearance, size and weight to today's GSM phones.
ICO currently has 57 investors, comprising telecommunications and technology companies, from 51 markets throughout the world. Telstra is Australia's largest telecommunications carrier with a world class domestic network that connects over nine million fixed telephone services to more than 95 percent of Australian homes.
The great liberalisation of telecommunications will take place February 5, according to the World Trade organisation. Will it?
Above all, all this was to happen in January 1 but the U.S. government reportedly had to deal with a certain Monica l., er, no, in fact the government was waiting for an opportunity to surgically remove Iraq from the surface of the Earth. No, all wrong, please consult Mr Clinton's psychiatrist [or that of the UK's Mr Blur] for details about those developments.
In fact, the self-appointed leader of the Earth, the U.S. of A. were waiting for all the original 69 [!!] signatories to come on board. How nice of Bill, Hillary, and Monica. Er... what? Who? Delete Monica and disregard Mr Clinton's cat and dog as well. All this is not relevant.
The accord, reached last February, is thought to open up the global telecommunications industry to international competition. At a meeting of the WTO's Council on Services, U.S. ambassador Rita Hayes announced Washington was ready for the pact to be activated as soon as possible, and the Council approved a Japanese proposal setting the February date.
Under the deal, business covering some 93 percent of the total domestic and international revenue of around US00 billion generated annually in the telecommunications industry will be subject to WTO open trading rules. In theory, that is. Initially, only the 57 countries that have ratified the agreement will be covered.
The remaining 13 of the original group, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Philippines and Poland, have not yet completed their domestic ratification procedures. And some of those who did have nonetheless stated they were unhappy about how others are putting its provisions into practice. They will bring their complaints to the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).
Anyway while most countries have agreed to early openings for voice telephony, less than half of them are agreeing to swift liberalisation of satellite services.
Even more sensations! You will probably have noticed that what everybody ranging from Microsoft to Netscape tried to sell you as "push" technology on the World Wide Web was actually nothing but "automated pull."
Nobody really pushed any content to your computer; instead, all of that was just a clever marketing scheme wrapped up nicely in colourful and noisy software. WavePhore Networks, Inc. a division of WavePhore, Inc. now claims to offer the Internet's first real push service, which uses the Internet to enable virtually simultaneous real-time delivery of streaming news and other information feeds to thousands of end users. The system is expected to be commercially available at the end of the first quarter.
WINDS (WavePhore Internet News Delivery Service) enables information providers with a convenient, automated and simultaneous means of delivering their information products to end users using the Internet. The system leverages the existing Internet communications infrastructure to force deliver ("push") streams of data or files from one central location to thousands of geographically dispersed end users. Unlike "automated pull" or polling services, WINDS truly "pushes" the information directly to the client sites as soon as it is published by the information provider. [According to a WavePhore press release, that is.]
End user computers are provided with an application which establishes a connection (via the Internet) with WavePhore's WINDS server, authenticates itself, and then begins receiving information. [Hmm... push or pull?] The remote application also performs decryption and session management functions, automatically reconnects when a session is dropped, and presents transmitted data to the local client.
WavePhore regards WINDS as the ideal complement to its FM and satellite data broadcasting systems as it allows information providers to take advantage of the fact that many of their end users have already invested in Internet capacity. End users no longer have to be located within a satellite or FM footprint in order to receive data.
WavePhore Networks' WINDS protocols ensure that data delivered via the remote application is 100 percent compatible with the broadcast streams sent over WavePhore's FM and satellite connections. The product's protocol compatibility also assures that software platforms written to WavePhore Networks' existing protocols will continue to work with WINDS.
Gosh, have they got a plethora of Web sites:
And as if that wasn't enough with technological breakthroughs, here's yet another wonder. Teleglobe has launched what it called the "first broadcast-quality commercial video transmission over ATM."
The company said Millennium offers unprecedented quality, superior network security and higher clarity than satellite broadcast transmission [they did not elaborate on that, and I doubt it anyway] anyway, all at a significant cost savings over currently available analogue technology.
And for all of you that still enjoy news feeds on satellite, analogue or digital, Teleglobe has this message for you: "Unlike standard broadcast transmissions that can be intercepted from satellite transmission for unauthorized use, Millennium sends digitized pictures in ATM cells over terrestrial and undersea facilities." In other words, they'll take that windfall bit of democracy away from you that allowed you to watch uncensored news feeds so far.
By the way: Teleglobe is the third largest owner of capacity in submarine cable systems world-wide, which explains it. The primary route for Millennium is between New York and london, with service also available in Montreal and Vancouver. Among its users are ABC, CBS, Fuji-TV and NHK.
The New York International Television Access Center (ITAC) is located at Waterfront Communications, the dominant video switching hub in New York City. The london ITAC is located at Tele-Cine, which provides video production and transmission facilities that connect to the BT Tower in london. Millennium ITACs also are located in Montreal and Vancouver. An additional center in los Angeles will provide a link for Hollywood to Teleglobe's Millennium service. Other planned sites include Paris, Frankfurt am Main, Miami and Washington, D.C.
Teleglobe broadcast services are supported by three North American teleports that link with Intelsat, Panamsat, Orion, Telecom 2A and all U.S. and Canadian satellite systems. Teleglobe is a signatory to Intelsat in North America and an Intelsat direct access customer in the United Kingdom.
Additionally, its transatlantic broadcast services leverage the massive capacity of Globesystem Atlantic, a high-speed fibre optic submarine cable between North American and Europe. The Teleglobe network includes submarine cable and satellite facilities linking North America with over 240 countries and territories.
14-year old Lisa Wheeler from Montesano, Washington (USA) has a problem. She won 100 TV sets in an Internet competition run by ABC.
The problem is that the prize cannot be converted to cash poor Lisa has to find some place for one hundred TV sets, including two 155-cm sets, several 89-cm sets and dozens of of 51- and 33-cm sets. The retail value is about US$31,000.
The Wheeler family has accepted 70 sets by various manufacturers so far -- the home and garage are overflowing. They hope to sell most of the TVs in order to raise to some money for the children's college education.
While Lisa's 16-year old sister Trish pledge to keep at least one of the monster TV sets has not so far been decided upon, it seems quite unlikely that the Wheeler sisters will get their own bedroom sets. "I'm not going to lay that much cable," their father was quoted as saying.
To unsubscribe, send Email to Majordomo@tags1.dn.net (not to me, please, and not to any other address) and include the line
in the body of your message. If that does not work, append your email address, e.g.
unsubscribe sat-nd email@example.com
Or have a look at