GE American Communications is planning two launches next year: GE-4 to service the Americas and GE-1A to service Southeast Asia, China and India.
Loral Orion will launch Orion 2 next spring to cover the Americas, Europe, Russia and the Middle East and South Africa. It also plans to launch Orion 3 this autumn for service to Asia, Korea, India, New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii.
SatMex, recently acquired by Loral Skynet and Mexican partners, will launch two satellites this year. The first will cover the Western Hemisphere, the second one will provide a broad range C-Band coverage to the Americas and Caribbean.
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With the new license, PanAmSat Asia Carrier Services Inc. can act as the carrier for PanAmSat customers that require guaranteed or quick approval for domestic telecommunications services or prefer the ease of choosing one company that provides them both the domestic carrier license and the satellite capacity.
Australian telecommunications customers currently using PanAmSat satellite capacity include carriers Telstra and AAPT Sat-Tel as well as Internet service providers Internet Group, Ourworld Global Networks and NetConnect Communications Pty. Ltd. In addition, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation uses PanAmSat satellite capacity for full-time domestic video transmissions.
PanAmSat provides domestic satellite services in Australia over its PAS-2 Pacific Ocean Region satellite, which was launched in July 1994. The company will expand its coverage of Australia with the planned launch of the PAS-8 satellite later this year.
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Last week, Leasat 5, under a multimillion-dollar contract to Hughes Global Services Inc. from the Royal Australian Navy, began its service from its new orbital location at 156 degrees East. Leasat 5 will provide ultrahigh-frequency satellite-communications services to the Australian Defence Force for five years, if all options are exercised.
"This satellite was literally within days of being propelled into useless orbit, since its service to the U.S. Department of Defense had been completed," said Ronald V. Swanson, president of Hughes Global Services.
To provide service to Australia, the satellite had to be relocated from its original position over the Indian Ocean to its new position of 156 degrees East. Hughes has worked in conjunction with Leasat 5's owner, PanAmSat, to meet the ultrahigh-frequency satellite-communications needs of the Australian Defence Force.
Leasat 5 began limited service to the Australian Defence Force on Oct. 17, 1997. On March 4, the relocation began with the successful execution of the first of a series of on-board thruster burns. Service began on May 7. The PanAmSat Operations Center in Long Beach, Calif., provides the tracking, telemetry and control capability via its Guam ground station, and also plans and executes all orbital manoeuvres.
Leasat 5 was built by Hughes Space and Communications Co. The 12.6-meter diameter spin-stabilised satellite was one of a new line of wide-body spacecraft designed exclusively for launch from the Space Shuttle.
As the last of a five-satellite constellation, Leasat 5 was launched in January 1990 and leased to the U.S. Navy, acting on behalf of the Department of Defense, to provide communications-satellite service for an initial period of five years. The Leasat satellites were used for mobile air, surface, subsurface and fixed Earth stations of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Army.
The communications payload of Leasat 5 consists of two large helical UHF antennas, providing receive and transmit capability in the UHF band (240 to 400 MHz). Telemetry, command and Fleet Broadcast uplink and beacon are in the "exclusive" portions of the SHF band (7250 to 7500 MHz and 7975 to 8025 MHz). Twelve UHF repeaters provide the main communications capability.
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According to today's Sydney Morning Herald, some Galaxy subscribers are already receiving Optus channels as Optus Communications trials its satellite services before deciding whether it will switch off Galaxy.
Optus officially terminated its satellite agreement with Australis two days after the company went into receivership. Under the terms of the contract Optus had the right to terminate the agreement if it believed Australis did not have the ability to pay for the satellite's use.
The question is whether Optus will really cut off Galaxy's 50,000 subscribers from programming and try to pick up their business. Such a move would also have an impact on Australis's two regional franchisees, Austar and East Coast TV (ECTV,) which have close to 250,000 subscribers, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
Rumour has it that there is indeed a bit more going on behind the scenes, so it is by no means a bad idea to watch what happens on Optus B3's transponders, such as 10 and 11, over the next few days--if you can. [I can't as I live in the wrong place as far as receiving Australian satellites is concerned. Apart from that, I won't complain.]
The receivers appointed to Australis, Mr Peter Walker and Mr Steve Sherman of accountancy firm Ferrier Hodgson, meanwhile continue their struggle to put together a fresh rescue package for the group. Such a package may also include a more attractive pricing for a new Galaxy service.
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Commission spokesman Stefan Rating was quoted as saying that a meeting last Friday between European Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert, Leo Kirch and other company representatives had been "inconclusive."
"The parties know that we cannot take a positive decision as it stands, meaning on the basis of what they have submitted and the changes they have made to the originally notified agreement," Rating told a news briefing.
"That means that if there are no further changes which address our remaining concerns we would have no option but to take a negative decision by the deadline of June 3," he added.
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Of course, Israel is not exactly what one might call a European country, but as a member of the European Broadcasting Union the country participates in the contest. Having won twice in 1978 and 1979 with more or less religious songs, Israel scored its third victory with a somewhat different contribution: 'Diva,' performed by Dana International. The event was not only broadcast all over Europe but also to Australia and Canada.
Although this is a song contest, orthodox jews had a problem with the singer who performed on stage for Israel. Born Yaron Cohen 29 years ago, Dana underwent a sex-change operation in 1993, became a woman and is now one of Israel's most popular singers.
A member of the ultra-orthodox Shas party, Shlomo Benizri, said Israel sent "a message of darkness" by selecting Dana International to represent the country at the Eurovision song contest. Transsexuality "is worse than sodomy," he was quoted as saying.
He added: "As deputy health minister, I am ready to find psychiatrists and psychologists for Dana International and all other perverts of the same persuasion to put them back on the right path."
What's undoubtedly worse from his point of view: Dana's song came in first, which means that Israel will (have to) host next year's song contest. Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert said the city will host the event despite opposition from religious groups enraged by Dana's victory.
"I am the one who represents Jerusalem, and I say categorically: Jerusalem hosted Eurovision 20 years ago, and there is no reason that this is not the case next year," Olmert said on Israel radio.
"We will be happy to work with the Israel Radio and Television authority to prepare this event. The municipality will not tolerate any cultural or artistic censorship," he added.
His deputy, ultra-Orthodox Rabbi Haim Miller earlier announced that "this shameful spectacle will not take place in Jerusalem. It would be better for the event to take place in a non-Jewish country."
Commented mayor Olmert: "There's no need to always quote the remarks of that blabbermouth."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he supported holding the competition in Jerusalem 1999 and it "will take place there," Israeli public radio said.
Israeli President Ezer Weizman also congratulated Dana. "I stayed glued to my television set until late and I was very proud of her because it's a victory for our country."
And what does Dana say? "My victory is my personal birthday gift to the state (of Israel) on its 50th birthday," the singer told the Hebrew daily Maariv.
"It is a signal to all those around the world who harbour prejudices--we are all equal. I am proud and happy."
[Apart from all that controversy, let's face it: Dana's song was nothing but a piece of shit, I wouldn't even accept the CD as a present, and at least four other songs actually deserved to come in first--those from Malta, the Netherlands, the UK and of course Germany ;-))) As far as the singers are concerned, Cyprus has won a moral victory.]
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As reported, the villagers have denounced as insufficient the coverage given to a traditional dance spectacular on May 1, and are calling for some of the 50-strong RFO staff including a cameraman to be sacked.
RFO planned to resume broadcasts today but its director Bernard Joyeux, one of the three former hostages, decided not to go on air when protesters from Utufua returned.
"There is nothing more to negotiate," Joyeux said, refusing to sack any staff.
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Canadians: This is the Canadian Coast Guard. Please alter course 15 degrees north to avoid collision.
Americans: We are unable to alter course. Recommend you alter course 15 degrees south immediately.
Canadians: Unable to comply. You must immediately alter course 15 degrees north to avoid imminent collision.
Americans: This is the U.S. Navy. We will not alter course. We demand that you alter course 15 degrees, one-five degrees south immediately.
Americans: This is the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier Lincoln. We are the second largest vessel on the ocean. We are currently being escorted by three U.S. Navy destroyers and several support vessels. We demand your immediate compliance by altering your course 15 degrees south or further protective action will be taken.
Canadians: This is a lighthouse. Your call.
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