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Yes, it's still Sat-ND. I have changed the layout a bit, though. Not because I didn't like the old one anymore but in order to reduce the size of the HTML file sent out to subscribers. StarOffice 4.0, the program I use for Sat-ND, has some wonderful features most competitors don't have (such as a truly hyperlinked table of contents, and ultra-fast execution of macros) but its HTML output is admittedly far from being perfect. I have changed the layout so that the resulting HTML should be a bit less redundant now.
Today's motto is by Geoff Clifton. I think I should keep it, don't you think? Anyway, if SYDNEY ANTENNAS PROFESSIONAL ANTENNA SERVICE sounds just like what you need, go to 9 Endeavour Ave, La Perouse NSW 2036, Australia or contact Geoff via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to strategic research conducted by Frost & Sullivan, revenues in the space-based remote sensing market rose 17.5 percent from 1996 to 1997, and in 1998 revenues are expected to jump 16.1 percent.
The study World Commercial Remote Sensing Markets concludes that the remote sensing industry is poised for a wide scale commercialisation of space. The commercial availability of this technology will create new applications and grow established ones, such as mapping and precision agriculture.
The remote sensing market defined in this study includes revenues generated from images produced by satellite operators, enhanced data generated by value-added resellers and fees ground stations pay for the right to directly receive satellite imagery. Space imaging is growing at 28.6 percent annually, owing to the advent of commercial high resolution imaging.
Technologically, several trends are impacting the remote sensing industry, including the miniaturization of microprocessors in satellite systems, new materials to construct more powerful solar arrays, electric propulsion systems for manoeuvring orbiting satellites and new commercial applications for multispectral, hyperspectral and synthetic aperture radar [which will be able to look through clouds.]
Useless fact: The ridges on the sides of coins are called reeding or milling.
Meanwhile, preparations are underway for the launch of the first commercial spy satellite that offers a resolution of one meter.
It's not that revolutionary as two-meter resolution imaging is already available for commercial purposes. However, the mission of Kosmos 2349 only lasts a few days (Sat-ND, 18.2.98.)
Space Imaging EOSAT, as frequently mentioned in this so-called newsletter, plans the launch of a commercial imaging satellite called Ikonos 1 this year. It will, like its follow-up Ikonos 2, be built by Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, a company that has some expertise on that field. Lockheed Martin Astronautics is said manufacture the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office's advanced Lacrosse spy satellites (Sat-ND, 15.2.98.)
The heart of Ikonos spacecraft is the LM900 satellite bus, Missiles & Space said in a press release. The primary payload is a digital imaging sensor capable of collecting both monochromatic images at a resolution of one meter, and multispectral images with a resolution of four meters. Multispectral images reveal information that cannot be gleaned from photographic images, such as chlorophyll content, chemical composition, and surface water penetration. Users will be able to combine panchromatic and multispectral images to produce images that yield advantages of both techniques.
The satellite's 680-kilometer altitude and speed of nearly seven kilometers per second give it a wide field of view and the ability to capture large quantities of data very quickly. For example, it can image a 13-kilometer-wide strip from central Canada to Mexico City in about 10 minutes.
Missiles & Space will also be responsible for on-orbit operations and maintenance of both remote sensing satellites and associated ground stations.
To maximise the utility of the vast amount of data collected by the satellites, Missiles & Space is developing the Intelligent Library System (ILS), a large-scale digital repository that will allow SIE to store remote sensing data, as well as to exploit and distribute the multispectral imagery and geographic information to customers around the world. ILS will be able to store multi-pedabytes (1,000 terabytes) of data.
Useless fact: Doris Day began her career as a dancer, and only began singing when she broke her leg.
Motorola, Inc. (USA) and Oerlikon Contraves AG (Switzerland) have signed a strategic alliance agreement for optical communications equipment for Motorola's planned global broadband Celestri System.
The Celestri System will rely on a constellation of 63 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, nine geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) satellites, and a family of advanced ground systems and terminal equipment designed to deliver a wide range of broadband communications capabilities virtually anywhere on earth. The Celestri System is currently expected to be operational by 2003.
Each LEO satellite in the Celestri System is designed to have on-board switching and routing equipment, and six optical link terminals that will interconnect it to nearby satellites in the constellation. The constellation is designed to operate as a high-speed, highly resilient and seamless global intelligent communications network.
Under the terms of the agreement, Contraves Space, a division of the Zurich-based Oerlikon Contraves Group, will design and produce the optical inter-satellite link (OISL) terminals that will allow the low earth orbit (LEO) satellites in the Celestri System to communicate with each other across multiple high-speed laser links. Contraves Space will work with its industrial partner Bosch Telecom GmbH and others, including the Carl Zeiss Group (both Germany) to design, develop and produce the OISL equipment for Motorola.
Following an initial design phase that is planned to continue through 1998, Motorola intends to award a multi-year contract to Contraves Space in early 1999 that calls for the delivery of 456 OISL terminals and related equipment. The value of the contract is expected to exceed US$150 million.
In related news, Exigent International Inc. subsidiary, Software Technology Inc. (STI) has signed a strategic alliance agreement with Motorola concerning the supply of command and control systems for the Celestri constellation.
Useless fact: Cream does not weigh as much as milk.
GE American Communications, Inc. (GE Americom), a GE Capital Services company, said its GE-5 satellite is scheduled to be launched and operational by fourth quarter of this year.
GE-5 will meet the satellite news gathering (SNG) needs of television broadcasters as well as the wideband data applications of business users, GE Americom said in a press release. GE-5 will also allow a wide range of commercial customers to expand their business television communications and to distribute their wideband data services.
To help customers efficiently utilise GE-5, the satellite's 16 Ku-band transponders have a 54 MHz bandwidth. This allows SNG or other users to simultaneously carry two analogue signals on the same transponder. GE-5 users can also carry a mix of analogue and digital signals at the same time. To insure satellite transponder availability during peak demand periods, a dedicated pool of occasional GE-5 transponders will be available to customers.
GE American Communications operates eleven satellites serving North America. In South America, GE Americom is an equity investor in the Argentinean Nahuelsat satellite system. In Europe, GE Americom recently launched GE-1E (actually one half of Sirius 2) which offers high-power Ku-band coverage for all of Europe and the Middle East. With the launch of a planned Asian satellite, GE Americom will provide satellite service access for over 80 percent of the world's population.
Useless fact: Rats can't vomit.
Walt Disney Co. has confirmed it was considering selling its 19.6-percent minority stake in Scandinavian Broadcasting System (SBS.)
SBS is European commercial television and radio broadcasting company that operates in Western and Central Europe. It owns Kanal 5 in Sweden as well as VT4 in Belgium and holds 70 percent of SBS6 in the Netherlands.
"[Walt Disney Co.] has concluded that the ownership of this stake is not consistent with Disney's primary focus in international broadcasting, which is to develop and manage Disney and ESPN-branded programming services in major markets," Disney said in a statement.
Disney did not buy the stake in the first place but took it over when the company merged with Capital Cities/ABC two years ago. The company said that selling its SBS stake was part of an ongoing rationalisation of domestic and international broadcast investment since the ABC acquisition.
Useless fact: Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete.
Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux and M6 Metropole Television SA have officially announced a contract to purchase 15 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of the 20 percent stake in Television Par Satellite (TPS) currently held by CLT-UFA, a Luxembourg-based television company (Sat-ND, 22.2.98.)
Following the purchase, Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux and M6 will each hold a 25 percent stake in TPS, a French pay-television company. On Dec. 31, 1997, TPS was valued at FFr3.6 billion, or the equivalent of FFr10,000 or US$1,650 per subscriber. [Should you happen to be a pay-TV subscriber: Now you get the idea what you're worth, in other words: what revenue the respective company expects you to generate.] The sale price for the acquired 20 percent stake totals FFr395 million and takes into account TPS's financial debt and a minority discount.
Headquartered in Paris, Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, with FFr200 billion (US$33 billion) in revenues, is a leading international private infrastructure services group with four core businesses -- of course water, as the name implies, but also energy as well as waste services and communications. [Cynics might add that waste services and communications, especially television, were synonyms anyway.]
Useless fact: France contains the greatest length of paved roads.
DirecTV Japan announced plans to add 25 new video channels to its direct satellite broadcasting service beginning April 1. The company also will introduce 29 new digital audio channels to its entertainment lineup.
Seventeen of the new video channels, which will raise the number of channels in the package to 88, will be exclusive to DirecTV. The new channels, with several dedicated solely to music, sports, movies, news and adult entertainment, round out the company's slate of programming, which includes feeds from the BBC, NBC, ESPN, other leading foreign networks, the Discovery Channel, the Playboy Channel and MTV.
DirectTV said it would introduce five different packages in April, starting at ¥2,980 a month for 31 video and 29 audio channels. On a news conference, DirecTV declined to give details of the number of subscribers the broadcaster had signed since its December 1 launch. "The real measurement of subscriber numbers becomes meaningful only after April," a company official said. He added that the planned merger of its two digital TV rivals, JSkyB and PerfecTV, would not affect DirecTV's strategy. "One potential competitor has been eliminated. In my mind, the battle is far more clear now."
Useless fact: The first Japanese baseball team to play in the U.S. was in 1905.
by Dr Sarmaz
No, no Australian activities... I mean Austria. The monthly magazine Trend reported that the one and only global media mogul Rupert Murdoch has joined forces with Austrian building tycoon Hans Haselsteiner to set up a commercial TV channel aimed at a domestic audience.
"This is a well thought out project and I have been invited to take part as an investor," Trend cited Haselsteiner as saying. "Representatives from Fox and the Fox Kids channel have already visited Vienna several times for detailed discussions about costs and a studio." Why is it always that the building tycoons invest in commercial TV? Silvio Berlusconi of Italy is the most obvious example, but there's also Francis Bouygues from France who controls the country's main commercial channel TF1.
Haselsteiner is also the opposition Liberal Party's economics spokesman and a member of the Austrian parliament.
The magazine said the planned Austrian Satellite TV (OFS) would transmit digital broadcasts 24 hours a day from a Vienna studio via the Eutelsat satellite, reportedly ending the national monopoly of pubcaster ORF. However, German commercial channels in the meantime offer Austrian versions on satellite. Mainly targeted at cable viewers in Austria, they air about the same programming as carried on their German outlets but different commercials. And why Eutelsat anyway -- Astra is known to be Mr Murdoch's favourite satellite system.
The success of the project could hinge on access to the Murdoch empire's massive film library, Trend said. True. The problem that any potential Austrian broadcaster faces is that the country's official language is German. Broadcasting rights in that language are usually sold to German channels first. Austria's ORF usually is allowed to air the same programming but had to retract from German cable networks as well as to reduce the power of some of its terrestrial outlets for a simple reason: ORF's first channel broadcasts the same movies as commercial channels in Germany but without any commercials.
It was no surprise that ORF 1 had become quite popular in the German regions bordering to Austria. As a result, German commercial channels threatened ORF not to pass any broadcast rights unless the broadcaster reduced its spill-over to Germany. However, as Rupert Murdoch has no interests in Germany apart from a stake in a rather insignificant free-to-air channel called Vox, there should be no conflict of interests.
Useless fact: Empress Marie-Theresa of Austria was 148 centimeters tall and weighed 134 kilograms.
British culture secretary Chris Smith urged rival television broadcasters to co-operate to ensure that digital TV was successfully launched in Britain.
"The success could be hurt if digital broadcasters deliver conflicting messages," he said, adding it was more important to focus on the service consumers would receive than on which platform delivered it. "The government wants digital technology to succeed on all delivery platforms."
Mr Smith's remarks came after terrestrial digital TV venture BDB chose the SECA technology by Canal Plus (France) and Bertelsmann (Germany) over that of News Datacom, a unit of BSkyB's major shareholder News Corp. Ltd. (Sat-ND, 20.2.98.)
Mr Smith reportedly declined to shed light on when Britain would switch off analogue TV transmissions and convert to digital, saying it was too early to say. He had earlier hinted that analogue transmissions would not cease unless 99 percent of the audience had access to digital equipment (Sat-ND, 16.2.98.)
Useless fact: "Smithee" is a pseudonym that filmmakers use when they don't want their names to appear in the credits.
In a rather failed attempt to explain solar outages, I wrote that "In spring, the effect will affect the Northern hemisphere of the Earth first, then cross the equator and move down South. In autumn, it's exactly the other way round, as you may have expected."
Manfred Schubert, disguising his contribution as a Useless Fact, noted that "Autumn the other way round is spring again! So the effect at the southern hemisphere also occurs in spring time." I think he's really got a point there.
It seems I said the letters VBI were an acronym for "Vertical Blank Interrupt." Richard Lambley wrote in to tell me that "VBI stands for Vertical Blanking Interval. And I wish Bill Gates would keep out of it ;-)"
Useless fact: There are 296 steps to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
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