Over the next few weeks Sat-ND will be published sporadically rather than daily
Here's what happened since last Friday, plus an announcement:
Dr.Dish on Tour in Singapore!
If you plan to visit the CableSatAsia 98 in Singapore (June 2nd--5th 1998), you'll have the chance of meeting Senior Editor of TELE-Satellite International, Christian Mass (Dr.Dish) in person at the TSI stand N2-3 in Hall 2. To arrange a meeting in advance, please send your request by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"PanAmSat and Hughes Space and Communications Co., which built the satellite, are continuing an extensive analysis of the cause of the SCP [spacecraft control processor] failures. We have ruled out any external causes and believe the satellite failure was due to a spacecraft component problem. Completion of the investigation may take several weeks."
Bednarek said PanAmSat had restored services to its Galaxy IV video and telecommunications customers, including the paging services, through the use of alternative capacity mainly on the neighbouring Galaxy III-R satellite.
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However, I was so far unable to find any confirmation of the report dated May 19, not even a mention of a fire at Aerospatiale's Cannes facility, so it's up to you to believe the following.
The report claims the incident took place in an aneroid chamber when "the foam covered surface of the chamber walls caught fire." (Which is a bit strange as fire usually doesn't break out in a vacuum.) The damage was reportedly done by the water sprinkler system that was triggered subsequently.
go-Ariane says that "a spokesman at the facility, who did not want to identify the satellite precisely, told the AFP news agency that 'the satellite will have to be dried out before we can make a first estimate of the damage.'" The satellite could not be launched as planned, and there was no chance of replacing it with Eutelsat W2 which was expected to be ready as early as September.
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"Involvement of the private sector is our strategic target which will serve this establishment and the Arab world in the field of satellite telecommunications," al-Shahri said in an interview. "We are discussing that in the general assembly and will ask for preparation of a study after we have the green light from the assembly.
"We expect to complete the study and members of Arabsat to make a decision on the study and the plan it proposes by the end of this year." He pointed out that "Telecommunications require strong partners. This sector needs a lot of capital and Arabsat cannot handle giant projects alone."
Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri addressed the Arabsat general assembly, currently meeting in Beirut. He said that "Arabsat will not be able to continue its operations unless it acquires stronger competitive abilities and that will be either through increasing governments' investments or through the participation of the private sector."
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"We envisage this date being no later than 2010. This date should be announced before the end of 1998, as delay in the announcement causes uncertainty," the report says.
"This is a welcome boost for Britain's broadcasters--including BDB--as we prepare to launch digital terrestrial TV later this year," commented BDB chief executive Stephen Grabiner. "An early announcement of a date for analogue switch-off will allow consumers and the industry to plan ahead with confidence," he added.
BDB plans to launch at least 15 terrestrially distributed digital TV channels this autumn to compete with BSkyB's 200-channel satellite service due to launch next month.
Culture Minister Chris Smith has in the past repeatedly refused to set an exact date for the analogue switch-off.
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"The effect of this decision is that a substitute agreement between Foxtel and the Premium Movie Partnership for direct supply of the Showtime and Encore movie channels to Foxtel will take effect immediately," Foxtel said.
According to Foxtel, the TV1 Partnership had also terminated its agreement to provide a general entertainment channel to Australis, and has formed an agreement with Foxtel to supply programming.
In addition Foxtel said it had formed a programming supply agreement with satellite television broadcaster Austar under which it will supply the Showtime, Encore and TV1 channels to Austar.
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The deal is subject to regulatory approval by the EU commission, and there are indications that the commission would like to see the film unit to be sold. Even before the deal was announced, French pay TV broadcaster Canal Plus expressed a possible interest in acquiring the Polygram film unit. Other possible buyers include French media group Pathe SA as well as German media companies Bertelsmann and Kirch. In the USA, Walt Disney Co. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. are reported to be interested in the Polygram library and its European distribution unit.
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"Microsoft is going to defend its right to market its products by any and all necessary means," said Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. "Not that I'm anti-government," he continued, "but there would be few tears shed in the computer industry if Washington were engulfed in a bath of nuclear fire."
Scientists pegged the explosion at around 100 kilotons. "I nearly dropped my latte when I saw the seismometer," explained University of Washington geophysicist Dr. Whoops Blammover. "At first I thought it was Mt. Rainier, and I was thinking, damn, there goes the mountain bike vacation."
In Washington, President Clinton announced the U.S. Government would boycott all Microsoft products indefinitely. Minutes later, the President reversed his decision. "We've tried sanctions since lunchtime, and they don't work," the President said. Instead, the administration will initiate a policy of "constructive engagement" with Microsoft.
Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer Nathan Myrhvold said the test justified Microsoft's recent acquisition of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation from the U.S. Government. Not only did Microsoft acquire "kilograms of weapons grade plutonium" in the deal, said Myrhvold, "but we've finally found a place to dump those millions of unsold copies of Microsoft Bob." Myrhvold warned users not to replace Microsoft products with rival operating systems. "I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) inside of every Pentium II microprocessor," said Myrhvold, "but anyone who installs an OS written by a bunch of long-hairs on the Internet is going to get what they deserve."
The existence of an RTG in each Pentium II microprocessor would explain why the microprocessors, made by Intel Corporation, run so hot. The Intel chips "put out more heat than they draw in electrical power" said Prof. E. Thymes of MIT. "This should finally dispel those stories about cold fusion."
Rumours suggest a second weapons development project is underway in California, headed by Microsoft rival Sun Microsystems. "They're doing all of the development work in Java," said one source close to the project. The development of a delivery system is said to be holding up progress. "Write once, bomb anywhere is still a dream at the moment."
Meanwhile, Apple interim-CEO Steve Jobs was rumoured to be in discussion with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison about deploying Apple's Newton technology against Microsoft. "Newton was the biggest bomb the Valley has developed in years," said one hardware engineer. "I'd hate to be around when they drop that product a second time."
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At a high level meeting last Tuesday between Bertelsmann and Kirch officials and the commission, chaired by the European anti-monopolies commissioner Karel van Miert, a.k.a. Super-Karel, the companies said they had no more concessions to make.
On Sunday, a spokesman for Kirch, pointing out that the commission makes a final decision on Wednesday, said: "We still believe that the proposal that we presented to the commission was acceptable."
Bertelsmann and Kirch on Monday ruled out any further concessions saying they would undermine the project's economic viability. They have promised there will be no digital TV in Germany unless they are allowed to pool forces [which should be reason enough to ban the deal anyway--nobody here wants that digital pay-TV crap.]
Unfortunately, Super-Karel is just one of 20 commissioners. Chief Commission spokeswoman Martine Reicherts said that "It is difficult to say at this stage what the decision will be. The [draft decision] requires a majority of 11 votes and it risks being contested."
She said the deal should be looked at from the point of view of European "industrial policy" and not just from a narrow competition policy angle, adding there was "intense lobbying."
Not just that; there's still some silly hope that Europe could play in role in setting up a global digital TV standard. European standards would however be rather impossible without participation of Germany, the world's second-largest TV market.
At least three commissioners are thought to vote in favour of the Kirch/Bertelsmann deal:
industry Commissioner Martin Bangemann, a German politician who was a complete failure as economics minister in Bonn and was banned to Brussels;
Commission president Jacques Santer from Luxembourg, maybe because all that digital nonsense would happen on the Astra satellite system that is a major tax payer in Luxembourg;
research chief Edith Cresson from France. [No idea why she could want to allow a digital TV monopoly in Germany, except for the European standards bit.]
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