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No five Iridium on rocket on Sunday.
Heap wind in Vandenberg, USA.
Try again on Thursday.
Useless fact: The world's first test-tube twins were born in June 1981.
No two Iridium on rocket on Monday.
Heap wind in Taiyuan, China.
Not know when try again.
Useless fact: 1/3 of Taiwanese funeral processions includes a stripper.
No issue of this so-called newsletter without sensational reports on the great progress of China's heroic space industry.
Currently, Chinese space engineers are working on increasing their rockets' payload, news agency Xinhua quoted Xu Dazhe, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, as saying. The immediate aim was to develop rocket boosters that would make it possible to put a payload of 15 tonnes into orbit (currently: 11 tonnes.) The next generation of vehicles should be able to handle 20 tonnes.
"China must strive to produce space vehicles at the earliest possible date in order to keep pace with the international trends in the development of space technology and accommodate the launch of larger communications satellites," Xu said.
As a by-product, China will (as reported) in theory be able to carry out manned flights and deep space exploration, including lunar and interplanetary missions.
Useless fact: Iceland is the world's oldest functioning democracy.
Arianespace successfully launched the Spot 4 Earth observation satellite for the French Space Agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales).
Flight 107 was carried out by an Ariane 40, the version of the European launcher without strap-on boosters. It used the 77th out of 116 Ariane 4 launchers ordered to date from the European space industry.
This launch was the 35th successful Ariane 4 launch in a row, and Spot 4 is the eighth Earth observation satellite lofted to date by Ariane.
The next launch, Arianespace Flight 108, is scheduled for April 28. An Ariane 44P launch vehicle will be used to place into orbit two direct broadcast satellites: Nilesat 101, built by Matra Marconi Space for the Egyptian radio and TV broadcast authority, and BSAT-1b, built by Hughes Space & Communications for the Japanese company B-SAT.
Following Flight 107, Arianespace has now 40 satellites on order to be launched.
Useless fact: My favourite news agency said that the rocket punched through a deck of low-altitude clouds and was clearly visible from the ground for more than five minutes.
I received an interesting press release from the European Space Agency about an optical inter-satellite link system aboard Spot 4. Here are some details about that as well as general satellite information.
Spot 4, developed by CNES in conjunction with Belgium and Sweden, weighed 2,755 kg at liftoff. Built by prime contractor Matra Marconi Space, it will ensure the continuity of high-resolution optical Earth observation services. The "Vegetation" payload will enable daily observation of all land masses with 1 km resolution. The satellite will, for instance, be able to detect forest fires in Indonesia and Malaysia as well as helping Southeast Asian countries monitor rice crops.
But Spot-4 also carries the first civil high data rate optical communications system, developed by ESA. Called Silex for Semiconductor Intersatellite Link Experiment, it will transmit picture data from Spot-4 via ESA's Artemis satellite (scheduled for launch in late 1999/early 2000) to a data processing centre near Toulouse, France.
The advantage is obvious: ground stations within Artemis' footprint can get their data at any time from that geostationary satellite and don't have to wait for Spot-4, which from its lower orbit covers almost every part of the globe within 24 hours -- but only for a short time each.
Data are to be transmitted from Spot-4 to Artemis at a rate of 50 Mbps. The link is operated at optical frequencies at a wavelength of 800 to 860 nanometers. The light source is a solid state laser diode operated typically at 60 mW optical power. The applied modulation scheme is direct intensity modulation (on/off switching). A photo diode is used as optical data detector.
For acquisition and tracking purposes CCD (charge-coupled device) detectors are used. (You may know CCDs from camcorders and cameras.) For link acquisition an optical beacon is provided on the Artemis terminal which consists of 19 laser diode arrays. The communication signal is split in the receiving terminal and used for data detection and for tracking purposes respectively. To concentrate the optical beam in the direction of the partner satellite the light is transmitted via a 25 cm aperture telescope providing a beamwidth of only 10 microrad (equivalent to 0.000057 degrees).
Optical inter-satellite communication is not that new; many of the planned LEO constellations will make use of it. In this case, however, it's much more difficult, as the two satellites are almost 40,000 kilometers apart. It takes the signal 1/4 second to travel from one spacecraft to the other, but in the same time the partner has moved 2 kilometers. The Silex beamdwidth is just 300 meters, so an extremely tight beam pointing accuracy is required.
Silex has been developed by ESA with Matra Marconi Space (MMS) as prime contractor leading a team of European companies.
Useless fact: The Channel between England and France grows about 300 millimetres each year.
Kupon, the satellite of the Russian Central Bank, has finally stopped responding to commands from its ground station after experiencing serious malfunctions last week.
Bank officials as well as the manufacturing company have confirmed the satellite was lost. Manufacturer NPO Lavochkina said that two stabilisers must have failed: "Our engineers are completely baffled, this is the first failure of this kind in the history of space flights." However, adjustments will be made to future satellites to avoid similar problems.
Central Bank officials say the bank was insured and will use the money, over US$70 million, to finance a new satellite. The bank plans to launch even more satellites within a space programme called Banker, which is to improve inter-bank communications.
Useless fact: The list of ingredients that make up lipstick include fish scales.
Russian satellite programmes? That was easy in the days of the Soviet Union. I have to admit that I got totally confused in the meantime.
The only thing that's almost absolutely certain about future Russian satellite systems is that they will be set up with foreign partners, just like in the Lockheed Martin Intersputnik venture.
Russia's communications satellites will finally have to be replaced -- but with what? Rocket Systems Corp. Energiya and NPO Prikladnoi-Mekhaniki (NPO-PM) were awarded contracts by the Russian Space Agency and state telecommunications committee. Energiya will construct four Yamal satellites, using some components from U.S.-based Space Systems/Loral and Japan-based NEC Corp. NPO-PM will supply three satellites: one made by Alcatel Espace in France and two made in Russia in a partnership with Aerospatiale.
There are also other Russian/European ventures such as Eutelsat's planned Siberia Europe Satellites (SESAT.) As if that wasn't enough, preliminary decisions are being taken on the establishment of a global satellite system by the name of Rostelesat.
Valery Timofeev, deputy head of the Russian state committee for communications and information, told a conference of the International Telecommunication Union that Rostelesat was "a universal global mobile and fixed communication system in which [Russia] invites the participation of the world community, and in particular European capital."
Other Russian telecommunications plans include a possible optic fibre link to North America over the North Pole, which would be the shortest route.
Useless fact: The only planet without a ring is earth.
Hughes Space and Communications International Inc. (HSCI) and American Mobile Radio Corp. (AMRC) have announced a contract for two HS 702 model satellites that will provide digital audio signals directly to car radios in the U.S.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
In 1997, AMRC obtained one of the two U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) licenses to offer nationwide satellite digital radio systems. In about two years, the high-power satellites will begin broadcasting approximately 50 channels of digital radio programming to fixed, mobile and portable radios across the contiguous United States. The contract calls for Hughes to deliver the satellites in geosynchronous orbit in April and August 2000, respectively.
AMRC has an option for a third satellite. Launch vehicles will be announced later. Alcatel Espace of France, will provide the 9.5-kilowatts, S-band, Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS) payload.
Hughes introduced the HS 702 in 1995 in response to customer requests for satellites with as much as 15 kilowatts of power and flexible payload capacity, that could be delivered in minimum time and be launched on a variety of vehicles. AMRC's contract brings to five the number of HS 702s ordered, with the first three going to PanAmSat Corp. The first HS 702 will be launched in the fourth quarter of this year.
AMRC is a privately held company owned by American Mobile Satellite and WorldSpace Inc. American Mobile Satellite is the only company currently providing L-band voice and data mobile satellite services in the United States. WorldSpace is an investor in WorldSpace International, the leading international satellite digital radio company scheduled to initiate service to Africa, Latin America and Asia beginning this year. Noah Samara, Chairman of WorldSpace, noted that Hughes Electronics and Alcatel also committed to invest a total of US$15 million in AMRC equity.
Useless fact: The term for when dogs scratch their butts by dragging them across the floor is called "sleigh riding."
Thanks to Forbes, we all know that William Henry (Bill) Gates III is even richer than last year. But one of his investments may have run into problems, reported Aviation Week & Space Technology.
Gates is a co-founder of the satellite-based project Teledesic, designed to provide an "Internet in the sky." Boeing, main contractor of the US$9-billion project, now has reportedly slashed its Teledesic workforce by nearly two thirds.
Boeing executives were quoted as saying the company remained strongly committed to Teledesic. The magazine stated, however, that nearly a year after Boeing won the prime contract, it has yet to determine just how and where the 288-satellite system will be built.
Maybe there's somebody else interested: Motorola, which is already involved in three new satellite-based communications systems, reportedly is poised to try again to get a role in Teledesic. However, I guess in this case Teledesic would rather become part of one of the Motorola projects than to survive as a stand-alone project.
Useless fact: Pickled herrings were invented in 1375.
Japan's television networks said they would not be able to launch terrestrial digital TV services by 2000 unless the government pays for the expensive infrastructure.
Without subsidies, said Seiichiro Ujiie, chairman of the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters, launching those services would take another ten years.
"If the government wants us to launch terrestrial digital TV services promptly, it should make an investment in the infrastructure as part of its public works spending," Ujiie told a news conference. About 14,000 TV terrestrial transmitters would have to be upgraded to enable digital TV broadcasts. The total cost of conversion to digital is estimated at ¥665 billion over ten years.
Probably alarmed by the foray of foreign companies into the Japanese digital satellite TV market, the government last year said it wants terrestrial TV networks to launch digital TV services at around 2000, five years ahead of the original plan.
The Japanese TV networks' plans to offer digital services via satellite by 2001 remain unchanged, however.
Useless fact: Cats can't taste sweets.
by Dr Sarmaz
Keith Rupert Murdoch will, as reported, not take over Silivio Berlusconis Mediaset. But it's not exactly "back to square 1." Some of those involved in the collapsed deal have suffered some damage.
Mediaset shares dropped more than five percent in Milan on Monday, even though there had been a surprise visit to London by Mediaset majority shareholder Silvio Berlusconi to meet KRM at the weekend.
"My father and Murdoch met on Saturday again to close the matter with a handshake and leave the door open to possible collaboration in the future," Berlusconi's daughter and vice-chairman of family holding company Fininvest told daily Corriere della Sera.
Former prime minister and party leader Berlusconi needs to sell at least part of the media empire he still controls for political reasons. Impending legislation would require him (and other businessmen) to sell their assets or place them in a trust during the time they spend in office.
There's another loser in the whole affair: British Prime Minister Tony Blair. It has been revealed that he had tried to help KRM take over Mediaset by speaking to his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi.
An unnamed Italian official told the Financial Times that "Mr. Blair was inquiring whether there would be any official obstruction to the deal, what the Italian government's attitude would be to it." He added that the impression that Blair was acting on behalf of KRM "would appear to make sense."
The FT's interview with the official followed a similar report in Turin's La Stampa newspaper that Blair had telephoned Prodi last week to support Murdoch's bid to acquire the TV group.
A spokesman for Blair confirmed that the priome Ministers had spoken last week about "a range of things" but would not comment on whether KRM's proposed deal had been discussed during their phone call. He also said the conversation had taken place at the request of Prodi.
Blair is already under scrutiny for reportedly enjoying close ties with the US-Australian media magnate, whose Sun tabloid newspaper in Britain has openly backed Blair in last May's general election.
Useless fact: Robert Kennedy was killed in the Ambassador Hotel, the same hotel that housed Marilyn Monroe's first modelling agency.
For the fourth year in a row, Yugoslavian satellite TV magazine 'Satelit TV Video' has conducted a survey on viewing habits in Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the Federal Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
An unprecedented 670 readers in took part in the survey. It's not quite representative in the first place because those who responded were 93 percent males and just 7 percent female.
The magazine's average reader was born 1963. There are 2.9 adults and 1.5 children in his/her household, only 45 percent are married. 93 percent watch satellite TV on a regular basis. 86 percent receive programmes with their own dish.
It gets quite interesting from now on as only 28 percent own a fixed dish. 31 percent use a dual-feed dish, the majority of 41 percent has a motorised system.
97 percent tune in to Astra, 67 percent to Eutelsat's Hot Bird position at 13 degrees East. Eutelsat II-F3 reaches 43 percent, Eutelsat II-F4M 38 percent. Other important satellites include Amos 1 (5 percent,) Intelsat 707 (5 percent,) as well as Türksat 1C and Thor (3 percent each.)
61 percent of those asked like to watch sports programming, 57 percent watch movies, 42 percent tune in to music channels. Other popular programming categories include documentaries (27 percent,) TV series (24 percent,) magazines (18 percent,) and news (12 percent.)
75 percent of those asked claimed to be fluent in English, 30 percent understand German, 26 percent have some knowledge of the Russian language, and 14 percent said the understood Hungarian. French scored 10 percent, Italian 9 percent.
Teletext is rather unpopular as 66 percent of those surveyed said they did not use it. Satellite radio is more popular as it is received by 57 percent of the respondents. Sky Radio is their favourite station (41.9 percent,) followed by Virgin 1215 (41.6) and North-German youth radio N-Joy (39.5.) The survey lists "RTL Oldparadise" [maybe the German RTL version, I'm not sure] as fourth with 30.9 percent and BBC Radio One with 20.5 percent. All other satellite radio stations are well below three percent.
And now, the favourites on TV. Eurosport comes in first with 77.8 percent. German language broadcasters follow with 45.3 percent (Pro 7,) 40.6 (Sports channel DSF,) 36.6 percent (music channel Viva.) Ted Turner's Cartoon Network scores 33.3 percent, followed by German RTL 2 with 32.7 and Italian Rai Uno with 32.2 percent.
The 1998 Annual SATELIT TV VIDEO Survey was conducted by: SATELIT TV VIDEO magazine: Lole Ribara 45/3, 11000 Belgrade, Yugoslavia, phone/fax: 381 11 322 4640, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Useless fact: Shrimps' hearts are in their heads.
As you all know from past issues of this so-called newsletter, it is my firm belief that U.S. American values, U.S. American forces and even U.S. American music should be spread as widely as possible all over the world. Er... is it?
I (and judging from the message header, many of my readers too) received an extremely lengthy email today by Stefan Simeonov Toshev, Manager of the "Bulgarian Association of Bluegrass and Country Music." I wouldn't have mentioned it but the first line reads "Webmasters, please forward to your users!"
Okay, this is not a Web site, but I guess the guy nonetheless wants some publicity. His aim actually is to keep Gaylord Entertainment from switching off Country Music TV in Europe, "support Country and Bluegrass Music in Europe, and the whole Country Video-music format that CMT carries." Even though it contains no Bluegrass, as the author noted.
Bluegrass? What the heck do those guys smoke anyway?!. Never mind, if you want your CMT Europe not to close down at the end of this month (Sat-ND, 3.2.98) complain to CMT in London (phone +44-171-486-7000, fax -7007) or in Nashville (phone +1-615-811-5835, fax -7613.)
If you want to join the efforts in keeping CMT Europe on air, contact email@example.com but leave me out of that!
Useless fact: In 1994, 73,866 million eggs were produced in the U.S. proving once again the U.S. has won another moral victory by having the best darn chickens in the world.
* Today's slogans provided by Marc Johnson.
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