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Even more useless editorial blurb
Hmm.... I like the new layout. However, it looks garbled when received with Eudora software. It looks much better when you set your options to use "Microsoft's viewer" (Tools | Options | Viewing Mail) unless you already have. However, the "back to top" link does not work there! You can right-click and choose "Send to browser" from the pop-up menu to view Sat-ND with your Web browser.
I don't know what happens with Netscape, but Microsoft's IE 4.0 displays the message, and all the links do work... however, the nice yellow background colour is missing. Complain to either Qualcomm or Microsoft or both of them. I have taken every effort to ensure that Sat-ND is sent out as a HTML-3.2 compatible file with links that work.
Hopefully, Sat-ND will as from today also have a proper title as well as keyword and description meta-tags. If anybody puts this stuff on the Web, and some rather insane guys do, those features will allow easy retrieval using common search engines such as Altavista.
Boeing has been awarded a four-year, US$48 million contract by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a solar orbit transfer vehicle (SOTV.) The sun-powered vehicle will transfer payloads from one orbit to another and even produce electric power once on orbit.
Satellites are not put into geostationary orbits when launched -- rockets don't reach the altitude of 35,800 km. Instead, the spacecraft are put into a transfer orbit from where they have to propel themselves to the desired altitude. Of course, this does not happen directly. It involves applied celestial mechanics and the repeated firing of the satellite's onboard thrusters. These manoeuvres take up precious fuel, in effect shortening the satellite's life.
What's more, the whole procedure is absurdly ineffective. "Current launch vehicles transport less than one percent of their initial ground launch mass into GEO [geosynchronous equatorial orbit]," explains Michael Jacox, U.S. Air Force SOTV program manager
The proposed solar orbit transfer vehicle design uses an advanced solar thermal propulsion engine to provide both propulsion and electric power for the SOTV space experiment. Ed Cady, SOTV program manager:"The vehicle can transfer 50 to 100 percent more payload to GEO than current chemical thruster systems."
He admitted that the propulsion system generated only a relatively low thrust so that it would take a satellite up to a month to reach GEO. "Once on-orbit, however, the same system used for propulsion could provide kilowatts of power for seven years or more," he noted.
The program is intended to complement the capabilities of launch vehicles such as Delta III and EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle). The space experiment's first flight will be October 2001 as a secondary payload on an early EELV flight.
Useless fact: "Amy-John" is archaic slang for a "lesbian."
A few years ago, NASA had promised faster, better and cheaper space missions. The first satellite, Lewis, built under the new approach went silent soon after it arrived in orbit. Its planned companion, Clark, will never be built.
NASA announced it had cancelled the remainder of the US$55-million Earth imaging program after two months of talks between the space agency and spacecraft builder Orbital Sciences. The agency cited cost overruns, an uncertain launch schedule of Lockheed Martin's Athena rockets and questions about the effectiveness of Clark's instruments as reasons for dumping the program. It will retain the launch services portion of the contract with Lockheed Martin, though.
Clark was to offer black-and-white images with a resolution of three meters, which can hardly be called state of the art. Besides, there are indications that Lewis' malfunction was related to the new "faster, better etc." technologies utilised.
Useless fact: "Buck-snort" is archaic slang for a "fart."
Aerial images and Sovinformsputnik are planning more commercial imaging missions after the successful launch of Kosmos 2349 or Spin 2 (Sat-ND, 18.2.98.)
It's all pretty harmless, says Aerial Images President John Hoffman. He said in an interview that the resolution used allows you to see a car on the images. "But you can't tell if it's a hatchback or a station wagon, or a Ford or a Chevrolet." While the current mission was targeted at taking pictures of the Southeast of the U.S., three future missions planned for 1998 and 1999 will focus on Latin America.
And it's really harmless. Hoffman expects customers such as the "real estate guys who want to show clients a map of the neighbourhood" as well as anybody who wants "photos of the family farm" as a souvenir.
Useless fact: "Hockey" is archaic slang for "semen."
Mexican media giant Grupo Televisa S.A. has signed an agreement with Worldwide Television News (WTN) to launch a news agency called Premium Hispano.
WTN is majority owned by ABC News, a unit of Walt Disney Co. Televisa is Mexico's biggest television and media concern, and is the largest Spanish-language television programmer in the world.
Televisa said the news service, which will offer three 15-minutes packages of news a day for a total of 30 stories with audio and video, will be launched March 15 [or April 1 according to WTN] and allow for global distribution of Televisa's regional coverage of Central and South America through WTN.
The new service will be produced at Televisa's headquarters in Mexico City under the supervision of WTN. Televisa said in its statement it would be in charge of programming while WTN will support marketing of the service, which is to be transmitted via satellite "to hundreds of clients across the world."
Useless fact: Fresca, the soft drink, had problems when it was sold in Mexico. Fresca is slang for lesbian.
The South China Morning post has summed up the effects the current crisis in Asia had on the media business. The paper said that "After dramatic expansion in the 1990s, the pay-TV sector has come to a halt in many markets."
A few examples: In Hong Kong, Cable TV expects 100,000 new customers, a drop of 30,000 on an earlier estimate. China Entertainment TV depends on donations to stay on air. The TV Shopping Network has wound up its Indonesian operation. Malaysian satellite TV operator Measat sacked 300 staff in response to rising costs and falling levels of demand. In Indonesia, the Indostar satellite TV platform has asked Turner International to drop its fee of 35 US cents per subscriber by at least a third. The direct-to-home satellite TV platform Asia Broadcasting and Communications Network (ABCN) laid off half its 200 employees in January and reduced the salaries of those remaining by up to 50 percent. They were told the project was on halt.
Western companies are affected, too. As reported, Loral is laying off 300 workers following the cancellation of three satellite manufacturing contracts (Sat-ND, 30.1./3.2.98.) Hughes will close its offices in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong and conduct regional business from Tokyo. British receiver and set-top box manufacturer Pace has pulled out of the Indonesian market after sales stuttered to a near halt, the paper said.
Useless fact: "Old Joe" is slang for "syphilis."
The Iranian-backed Shiite Moslem Hezbollah militia has proposed setting up a Hebrew-language satellite television channel with the help of the Lebanese government in an attempt to influence Israeli public opinion.
Hezbollah spearheads efforts to forcefully expel Israeli soldiers from Israel's self-declared "security zone" in southern Lebanon. The chief of Hezbollah's information department, Nayef Krayyem, said in a statement that he met with Lebanon's Information Minister Bassem Sabeh to discuss the project. "The proposal intends to create a satellite television channel in Hebrew aimed at the enemy society to develop an additional means of pressure for forcing a retreat from the occupied regions," the statement said.
Sabeh has reportedly accepted the proposal. The statement announced that "very soon a co-operative program will be set up with existing television stations in Lebanon and abroad which are broadcasting by satellite and daily programs will be broadcast in Hebrew."
Useless fact: "Reltney" is archaic slang for "penis."
If you're a news editor at the state-run Croatian TV channel HRT, you have a bad job. Independent journalism isn't exactly in demand there.
Tomislav Spoljar, until now head of afternoon news and current affairs programming, resigned for "moral and professional reasons." He was not allowed to broadcast an announcement about a protest rally in Zagreb last week, reported Forum 21, a group that aims at promoting more independence in Croatian media.
The rally was attended by about 10,000 people who protested about low standards of living. It has been the largest union protest yet.
Forum 21 said in its statement that "once again, the ruling party has seen the television as one of its tools and not as a public channel which should serve the interests of all its citizens. Despite all the statements of HRT officials on the restructuring of public television [...] HRT continues to function as a state and partisan channel."
Useless fact: "Scrump" is archaic slang for "the sexual act."
Canada's Federal Court issued a permanent injunction preventing DSI, one of Canada's largest distributors of U.S. DTH (DBS) satellite dishes, or any of its affiliates or representatives from engaging in any grey market activity, including supplying illegal programming. The exclusive Canadian rights for much of that programming has already been contracted by, and paid for, by Canadian broadcasters and distributors.
Last June, the Federal Court of Canada ruled illegal the sale of these U.S. dishes as well as the decoding of the unauthorised programming. The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the ruling in a decision handed down a few months later. It is the intention of the four plaintiffs, TMN Networks Inc. The Family Channel Inc., WIC Premium Television Ltd., (formally Allarcom Pay Television Limited) and Expressvu, one of the two licensed Canadian DTH services to proceed to enforce the injunction against DSI and to ask the Court to award the full amount of damages set out in the Action.
Bill McKenzie, lawyer for the Plaintiffs stated "This injunction is very powerful because it prevents not only the Defendants but their agents, affiliated companies, subsidiaries, and employees from being involved in any grey or black market activities. Its effect will be felt in several businesses that also operate in the United States. We will now be carrying on with the action to claim damages against the Defendants, including DSI, which have not already settled."
Useless fact: When Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John brand into French-speaking Canada, it was translated into Gros Jos, slang for a woman with big breasts.
by Grandpa Zheng
Please note: most of the links that appear in this section were taken from press releases or other material distributed across the Internet and could not be verified at time of writing. That does not apply to the first item, however.
If you're into satellite feeds (in Europe,) you can get up-to-date information from several mailing lists, such as those sponsored by TELE-satellite International.
But what do those feeds look like? Maybe you don't have a motorised dish, or maybe you just don't have the time. Gustav Hamren-Larsson has set up a very interesting Web site, called "The Satellite Feeds Directory" <http://www.hamren-l.demon.co.uk/> where you can find about anything about the stuff that you're supposed not to watch anyway. The best European satellite feeds site I've seen for far.
Useless fact: "Morning dew" is slang for "gonorrhea."
There's a solar eclipse in the Caribbean. The problem is: you don't live there.
No problem: You can watch the event in real time on the World Wide Web.
LIVE! ECLIPSE 98 <http://www.solar-eclipse.org/le98/en/index.html> will broadcast images from Maracaibo and Guadeloupe when the lunar shadow passes overhead at about 1600 UTC on February 26.
If you miss all that, don't despair. Images and data will be available for quite a while. Satellites such as SOHO <http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/soc/ECLIPSE/> and YOKOH <ftp://isass0.solar.isas.ac.jp/pub/sxt--co/eclipse.html> are busily collecting data, and so is a NASA aeroplane <http://planets.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/TSE1998/TSE1998.html>.
Should you wonder what a solar eclipse is, there are backgrounders provided by NASA <http://umbra.nascom.nasa.gov/eclipse/980226/rp.html> and Sky and Telescope magazine <http://www.skypub.com/eclipses/eclipses.shtml>.
Useless fact: In Brazil, Pinto, the same name as the Ford car, is a slang term meaning a small male appendage.
Intelsat will provide live video coverage of the launch this Friday of the Intelsat 806 satellite, and make it available to the world for the first time via the Intelsat home page <http://www.intelsat.int/>.
This cybercast marks the debut of streaming video technology on the Intelsat home page, and represents an important advance in Intelsat's ability to provide customers around the world instant access to these milestone events.
The launch is scheduled to take place on February 27 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and will use a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS rocket. The Intelsat 806 satellite will serve the largest video cable community in the Americas, and will be deployed at 40.5° W.
Intelsat has partnered with AudioScape <http://www.audioscape.com/> to host the live and packaged video content in RealVideo format. To access this video, viewers simply need to download the "RealPlayer" software, available free of charge from RealNetworks Web site <http://www.real.com/>.
Useless fact: According to one source, there are about 1,000 recognised slang words for "vagina."
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