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There's been a lot of confusion about some planned rocket launch sites in Australia -- at least in this so-called newsletter. Now, at least one of those projects was scrapped, Florida today reported.
International Launch Services (ILS) has decided not to use the proposed Asia Pacific Space Launch Centre for Russian Proton rockets. Here's some recycled text from Sat-ND, 7.11.97 that hinges upon the Launch Centre's Web site:
"...it covers an earlier proposal, the Asia Pacific Space Launch Centre EIS Site at Gunn Point in the Northern Territory, Australia. This project seems to be either dead or at least hibernating as the home page claims it was 'Last modified at 12:34 PM on 23/03/97.'
"As Sat-ND reported on October 2, 1996, the project had run into difficulties because the planned trajectory of the (Russian Proton) rockets to be launched would lead over Aborigines' hunting grounds and sacred sites."
Florida Today now said that the Lockheed-led ILS would not, as expected, become a key tenant at the proposed spaceport. ILS officials instead announced to make a multi-million dollar investment in refurbishing a satellite processing centre and second launch pad for commercial Proton launches at Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
There will be some commercial Australian space business, though. A U.S. company by the name of Kistler Aerospace recently was given the go-ahead by the Australian government to conduct satellite-delivery missions from the Woomera rocket range in south Australia. Woomera (the aboriginal word means something like 'spear-launching tool') actually is one of the world's largest rocket ranges -- it has the size of England.
Kistler, with a US$100 million contract from Space Systems/Loral, plans to launch six test flights of its reusable K-1 rockets from Woomera this year and increase the number of flight to 13 and 21 in the following years, respectively. The flight rate could climb as high as 50 per year once the rocket is proven in flight.
Useless fact: The stratosphere is higher than the troposphere.
The British Ministry of Defense's Defense Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) has signed a contract with Arianespace for the launch of two technology microsatellites, STRV 1 c and d.
The two microsatellites will be put into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) using the Ariane 5 Structure for Auxiliary Payloads (ASAP 5) in the summer of 1999.
It will be the first time the ASAP platform, which has been used six times before for the launch of auxiliary payload, is used on an Ariane 5 launcher. STRV 1 c and d are the 28th and 29th microsatellites to be carried by the European launch vehicle.
Specially designed to survive the extreme environmental conditions experienced in GTO, the STRV spacecraft will use these conditions to perform accelerated life testing of new components and materials. They will also use the varying altitude to evaluate the application of new communications standards in different orbits and provide data on the dynamic nature of environmental effects across the main spectrum of earth orbits.
Useless fact: Great Britain was the first county to issue postage stamps. Hence, the postage stamps of Britain are the only stamps in the world not to bear the name of the country of origin. However, every stamp carries a relief image or a silhouette of the monarch's head instead.
NEC Corp. and Nissho Iwai Corp. of Japan are to participate in a Russian broadcast and telecommunications satellite project, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Tuesday.
NEC will supply transponders valued at US$100 million, the paper said while trading house Nissho Iwai will take care of the financing. I have not further details available apart from the fact that the new system will provide telecommunications and TV broadcast services as from 2000.
The two Japanese companies are also expected to join a management company for the satellite project, the paper said.
Useless fact: An Elephant has the world's largest penis, weighing about 27 kg.
Thailand's only satellite operator, Shinawatra Satellite Plc, has put off the launch of its Thaicom 4 satellite recently but is nonetheless confident that there's some room for growth in Indochina and India, regions which so far have not been affected by the current Asian economic crisis.
Shinawatra vice president Nongluck Phinainitisart was quoted as saying that those regions showed the most potential. "There is increasing demand for the lease of Thaicom satellite transponders as the economic bubbles have not burst there yet," she told my favourite news agency. The current crisis was also an opportunity because many planned regional satellite projects (such as in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines) have been put on hold.
According to Nongluck, Vietnam had recorded the highest demand growth for satellite services in the Indochinese markets. Despite regulatory obstacles in India, a huge population and a more liberalised telecommunications industry would encourage greater demand for satellite transponders there as well, she said.
Thaicom I and II, each equipped with 10 C-Band and 2-Ku Band transponders, are almost fully leased. Thaicom III with its 24 C-Band and 14-Ku-Band transponders currently has roughly a third of unused capacity, half of which was to be used for TV services in India in the Ku-band.
As there is a temporary ban for Ku-band reception in India, Nongluck said "we are waiting for the Indian government's passage of regulations to allow the leasing of Ku-Band transponders from foreign operators."
Shinawatra Satellite posted 1997 losses of 4.50 billion baht compared with a 1996 profit of 241.21 million baht.
Useless fact: Cows have four stomachs.
Satellites? Not really, and much worse. Science fiction readers may have encountered surveillance drones, monitoring robots or something like that more than once. They may soon become reality -- the are much cheaper than any spy satellite and can effectively monitor almost everything that happens outside any building.
Two Australian inventors have produced a small aircraft than can fly higher than a jet, stay aloft for five days and could revolutionise not only atmospheric monitoring but also any kind surveillance business -- such as detecting 'boat-people' long before they arrive at the country they want to enter illegally. Or just think of large-scale demonstrations or uprisings such as that in Kosovo... Need I say more?
Called Aerosonde, the 15-kg, office-desk sized gadget can be launched from the roof of a moving car. Flying computer-controlled, it can carry data-gathering instruments of any kind, including surveillance cameras I guess, sending information back to a land-based receiver.
35 orders have already been placed by Australia, the U.S. and Taiwan. Countries such as France, Britain, China, Korea, Japan and Canada reportedly are also interested -- especially as the device even costs less than a decent car (A$20,000 or US$13,500.)
The propeller-driven aircraft has a cruising speed of 100 kilometres an hour and a range of 8,000 kilometres.
The three-year development program, which has just completed operational trials in Western Australia, is jointly funded by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the U.S. Office of Natural Resources and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Useless fact: The proceedings in the British Parliament are meant to be in private (even though they are televised). So, if the MPs want to have a secret session, one of them points to the gallery from which the public watch, and calls "I spy strangers!", whereupon the House votes "that the strangers do withdraw."
What did you do yesterday? Not that I really want to know, but maybe you will remember October 26, 2028 a bit better.
That's just thirty years from now, and you're not that old anyway, are you? Anyway, astronomers say they have made out an asteroid that will pass the Earth at a distance of just 48,000 km at that date; closer than any other object from outer space known in modern times.
The good thing is that it will be night in Europe when the asteroid called 1997 XF11 passes, so it can be seen with the naked eye for a few hours. The bad thing is that astronomers say they are not really sure about the distance, and that there is actually a slight chance that the thing might actually collide with the Earth.
There will be a not-so-close approach before in 2002, and astronomers hope to collect more data about the object's trajectory. Even though a collision in 2028 will undoubtedly be a major disaster, creating a 32-kilometer crater, much larger objects have hit the Earth before -- and probably have made the then superior animal of the Earth, the dinosaurs, just disappear. What might happen to the animal that currently dominates the Earth, the so-called human being, in thirty years from now? [Maybe they'll blow it up well before that date anyway; the U.S. government seems to be looking for every opportunity to start WW III right now. Well, just direct any of your smart yet-to-be-tested weapons against that asteroid.]
Anyway, there are at least 108 space objects known as "potentially hazardous objects" that appear on a list maintained by the International Astronomical Union, which announced the discovery.
What's interesting now is whether the nuclear powers will get their atom bombs out to blast that nasty Asteroid into smithereens as proposed in more than one Sci-Fi movie. Stay tuned for Sat-ND, 26.10.28 ;-)))
Useless fact: A large meteorite fell in Leicestershire on 24 December 1965. Weighing over 100 pounds it is probably the largest to have fallen in Britain in modern times.
by Grandpa Zheng
The press release had an impressive headline: WavePhore and SkyCache promised nothing less but to "renovate Internet backbone." I think that's a bit exaggerated. What actually will happen is that Internet Service Providers proxy servers, which usually act as caches, will be hooked up to the Internet via satellite.
The purpose of what WavePhore called a "new, high-speed network" is to employ satellite technology to broadcast the most often used Internet web and news traffic directly to Internet Service Provider (ISP) caches, thereby increasing efficiency of the Internet Backbone and substantially reducing communications costs for ISPs.
Just as if the use of proxy servers for caching purposes has been discovered only yesterday, Wavephore said in a press release that "caching web pages at the edge of the Internet will allow users to receive web pages more efficiently and will relieve Internet backbone connections of the need for redundant data."
True, and not true. Proxies are complete useless, for example, when it comes to real-time audio or video transmission, Internet telephony, etc. -- applications that usually take up more bandwidth, and put a heavier load on the backbones, than simple Web browsing. Anyway, whether a proxy is effective or not depends on your browsing habits, and if the proxy is clever enough, it also depends on the browsing habits of all its other users.
It is unclear whether this also applies to SkyCache because it's a one-way service. From WavePhore's press release, it seems as though the preferences of any local ISP's customers have no effect on what is forwarded to the proxy server. The release merely states that "the bulk of all information requests from end users are for a relatively predictable set of data."
But of course, it doesn't really matter. I don't mind if all that crap from netscape.com, disney.com etc. is beamed to ISPs via satellite if it only helps to get the load down a bit, so that all others could explore the unknown territories of the Internet a bit better and faster.
Here are the technical details: Under terms of the agreement, WavePhore will install one-meter [oops! They didn't say '40-inch'] satellite dishes and four megabit per second IDR V1000 variable bit rate satellite receivers with Ethernet output at SkyCache customer sites. WavePhore will also install its network management system at SkyCache's Laurel, Maryland uplink facility, which is expected to serve more than 200 locations within the next twelve months.
Useful hint: A really good ISP offers proxy servers but does not require you to use them.
The Washington Times claimed once more that there was "urgent space needs for U.S. security Military's ASAT option." ASAT stands for killer satellites.
The article by a certain James T. Hackett is complete and utter nonsense, so I won't quote a single word of it. Thank Moon, you obviously can't access back issues of that paper on the Web. However, if you're quick enough, you can still catch today's issue which is full of neat Monica Lewinsky stuff -- they're pretty good at that.
The Washington Times, a right-wing paper calling itself "America's newspaper," is owned by South Korean Reverend Sun Myung Moon. Critics have said the paper acts as a secret purveyor of Asian money and was controlled by Moon's Korea-based Unification Church which is best known for spectacular mass weddings, the last of which took place last November in, guess where, Washington.
Reportedly, the couples are usually selected by Moon himself. Many participants meet for the first time at the ceremonies and then live apart for long periods before being allowed to, er... consummate their relationships.
Useless fact: City with the highest per capita viewership of television evangelists: Washington DC. You guessed that, did ya?
If you're still watching TV, this one may be of interest for you:
TV Palace is a promising new site dedicated to television and radio web sites around the globe. Just give it a try.
Useless fact: 32 percent of American six- to seven-year-olds have a television in their own room, as do 50 percent of eight- to twelve-year-olds and 64 percent of thirteen- to seventeen-year-olds.
by Dr Sarmaz
"We have no comment." That's how Keith Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB chose to comment on the ongoing feud between two European satellite organisations which both claim the 28.2 degrees East position on the geostationary orbit.
Not quite the same position, I know, but the satellites are close enough to disturb each other, if they want to. The Financial Times reported that Europe's Eutelsat and Luxembourg's commercial satellite operator SES were both set to begin broadcasts from adjacent orbits in space, using the same band of frequencies. As a result, BSkyB shares fell more than two percent today.
The current situation seems to be that Eutelsat has reportedly positioned its Hotbird 4 at 27 degrees East, although I have no current data that support these reception reports. SES's Astra 1D, which was hastily moved over from 19.2 degrees East probably not because of the delay of Astra 2A but because of the Eutelsat threat, is at 27.9 degrees East according to data posted today.
Shoot it out!
Useless fact: About two-thirds of the world's population have no regular contact with newspapers, television, radio or telephones. Guess what... I envy them.
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