Sorry, it seems that yesterday a blank email was sent to the subscribers of this so-called newsletter (SCN.) I've no idea how that could happen.
Over the next three weeks, Sat-ND will switch to 'sporadic' mode. That means that I may or may not have the time to write this SCN. It's quite likely that there will be an outage of up to two weeks.
What's even better: I plan to have a real good time after that, going on holiday here and there, now and then, so there will be some more outages up until mid-July. So please start sending your "Where have you been" emails no earlier than July 15 :-)
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EchoStar said in a statement initial data indicated "a significant number of transponders probably will not be affected. ... However, the Company can not yet quantify the full extent of the anomalies and no assurances can be given as to the number of transponders that will ultimately be available for use." Full recovery of the spacecraft also remains a possibility as over the next few weeks, some manoeuvres will be conducted in order to attempt to correct the malfunction.
If the satellite's performance is seriously diminished, EchoStar said it "may determine to locate EchoStar IV at 148 degrees W.L. for local and niche programming, and maintain its national service at 119 degrees W.L. uninterrupted." So far, EchoStar I is supposed to be transferred to from 119 to 148 degrees W where it would join EchoStar III.
EchoStar has approximately $220 million of insurance on the satellite and expects that any significant loss of capacity would be covered by insurance. EchoStar does not maintain insurance for lost profit opportunity, the company said.
EchoStar IV, an A2100AX design built by Lockheed Martin, was launched on a Russian Proton launch vehicle on May 8, 1998.
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HGS's statement, translated into English, might read like this: "That was so damn good, let's do it again right now and do it even better." [Up to you to believe that.]
"Our orbital analysts have done a fantastic job of planning this mission and predicting the satellite's trajectory thus far," said HGS President Ronald V. Swanson. "So we challenged them to evaluate whether we could improve the orbit further.
"They said one more loop around the moon would improve the orbit, with little impact on the satellite's operational life--so we're going for it," Swanson continued.
Instead of doing the planned retro burn after the first flyby, Hughes' mission controllers fired the satellite's motor for a shorter period of time, allowing the satellite to glide into a looping 15-day orbit. An additional small burn on June 1 will send the satellite toward its second lunar encounter scheduled for June 6.
The spacecraft will pass the moon's surface from a distance of 43,000 km, which is about seven times farther than the initial lunar encounter on May 13. An additional motor firing is planned for June 12, to further position the satellite for its final orbit. The final burn, currently scheduled for June 13, will place the HGS-1 spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit.
One question remains: if all that lunar business is so much fun, why not put HGS-1 into a permanent orbit around the moon? ;-)
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The fourth satellite will be delivered in the first half of 2000. If its three predecessors are successfully launched by then, WorldSpace plans to have it launched in order to add capacity in an existing coverage area, or to cover new areas.
Through its satellites, WorldSpace plans to provide digital direct audio and multimedia services to underserved markets. The launch of its first satellite is expected at the end of this year.
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U.S. and Chinese intelligence was lead to believe a missile test at the country's East coast was being prepared. At the nuclear test site, located in Northwest India, several precautions were taken to avoid being observed too closely. Most of the activity took place underground. Spy satellites could have detected the heat generated, but all that took place in a desert where sandstorms reportedly occur frequently at this time of year .
Apart from that, Indian officials meanwhile confirmed that activity was timed around the flights of spy satellites (which means India can track them.) It wasn't really necessary because reportedly the U.S. switched their Lacrosse and KH (Keyhole) 11 satellites from routinely monitoring the nuclear testing ground to the missile site on the East coast.
By the way: nothing important happened there, just the launch of a missile with a range of 9 kilometers.
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The satellite was brought into an orbit that will make it burn up in the Earth's atmosphere 20 to 30 years from now, thus contributing to preserving the environment in space.
ISO was put into orbit in November 1995, by an Ariane 44P launcher at Europe's Spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana. As an unprecedented observatory for infrared astronomy, able to examine cool and hidden places in the Universe, ISO has successfully made more than 26,000 observations.
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Luton said that the various stages in the adaptation of Ariane 5 to evolving market requirements are now clearly defined:
a restartable upper stage, to support orbital injection of new-generation constellation satellites starting in 2001;
GTO launch capacity increased to 9 metric tons in 2001, and to 11 metric tons in 2005, to keep pace with the growth in satellite mass and maintain the competitive advantage of dual launch capability.
At the same time, launcher production and launch rate will be increased to 12 per year as early as in 2002 and even higher subsequently.
This was necessary as "no matter which type of orbit is used ... satellites continue to grow in size. Satellites weighing 5 tonnes will appear starting in 2000, and by 2005 most telecommunications satellites will weigh over 4 tonnes."
Luton pointed out that "Arianespace will offer the lowest possible launch prices, based on ongoing reductions in Ariane 5 production costs. At the same time, performance of the European launcher will be significantly improved to lower the cost per kilo into orbit, while at the same time maintaining high quality and reliability."
Luton, speaking to reporters at the Berlin Air Show, reportedly also said the company was exploring more European joint ventures to combine strengths, cut costs and circumvent potentially destructive rivalries. Commenting upon smaller satellite launches, he said "we will quickly form agreements to co-ordinate initiatives. We have to avoid rivalry between European providers."
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On a recent meeting of the "assembly of parties" in Estoril, Portugal, a plan was adapted that will set up a a limited company in France for commercial activities while a transformed intergovernmental organisation will take on the regulatory tasks of the group. It will monitor the company as to whether basic principles of pan-European coverage, universal service, non-discrimination and fair competition are observed.
The assembly said the new structure of the organisation should be implemented as soon as possible and not later than by the end of 2001. France is to submit a proposal for amendments to the Eutelsat convention as soon as possible. These will be considered by the assembly by May 1999 at the latest.
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The reason for the price drop of Loral stock is unclear. It seems to be connected to the fact that Loral (as well as rival Hughes) are said to have provided missile guidance technology to China. Both have denied those allegations, but even if they were true, that certainly would not reduce the success rate of Chinese satellite launches--the exact contrary is true.
After all, this is a really nice example that investors and analysts sometimes do not seem to have the slightest knowledge of what they're talking about.
As my favourite news agency reported, Wall Street analysts said Loral stock slumped following renewed concerns that the controversy may limit its ability to use Chinese rockets, thus slowing down the effort to set up the Globalstar Telecommunications Ltd. satellite system for wireless communications.
Loral is a leading backer of the Globalstar effort. "Could Loral's Globalstar venture be slowed down by all this? It's possible," S&P Equity Group analyst Joshua Harari was quoted as saying. "They're behind," he said of Globalstar. "They don't have as many (satellites) up in the air (as rival Iridium World Communications Ltd.)"
While the last sentence is true, the rest is a bit strange, to say it in the nicest possible way. "Complete rubbish" seems a bit more appropriate. First of all, they don't need as many satellites as Iridium (48 instead of 66.) Secondly, Globalstar's launch plan is on schedule with the full constellation expected to up by 1999. Thirdly, and most important, not a single Globalstar satellite is going to be put into orbit by a Chinese launcher.
The company has expressively stated it adopted a low-risk strategy, meaning that mainly Russian and a few U.S. rockets will be used for Globalstar launches. Unlike Iridium, by the way, who have used special versions of the Chinese Chang Zheng (Long March) rocket to launch a total of six Iridium satellites on three successful flights.
China's Great Wall Industry Corp signed a contract with U.S. Loral Space and Telecommunications Ltd last March for just five launches up to March 2002 using the Long March 3B rocket, but this is--to my knowledge--totally unconnected to Globalstar.
For instance, Chinasat-8, manufactured by Space/Systems Loral, is due for launch at the end of this year aboard a Long March 3B. It was built for the Chinese satellite company ChinaSat, which explains the usage of a Long March rocket.
So, don't listen to certain analysts, and don't believe certain news agencies. Bad thing is, however, both can influence the economy while not even knowing what they're talking about. That explains a lot of what we've been seeing happening on stock exchanges recently.
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