The European Space Agency said in a statement that "The W1 communications satellite developed for Eutelsat no longer being available, the W2 satellite, which was to have been carried as a commercial passenger on Ariane 503, will be launched by an Ariane-4 vehicle." This is probably going to happen on Flight 113 on October 23.
"The search for a new passenger cannot be reconciled with the planning schedule leading to entry of Ariane-5 into operational service. The Ariane 503 payload will therefore consist, in addition to the ARD (Atmospheric Reentry Demonstrator)--which has already been delivered to the Guiana Space Centre--of a representative mock-up of the W2 satellite."
However, even just building the "mock-up" will take some time [why don't they just take the defunct W1, by the way :-] and so the Ariane 503 launch is now scheduled for mid-October 1998. However, this is not likely going to happen before Flight 113.
All that may sound a bit strange, because W2 could have actually been launched earlier had it stayed on Flight 503. The problem is that the Ariane-4 flight in question is a dual launch, originally scheduled for July to put Eutelsat W1 and Sirius 3 into orbit. It is easier (and quicker) to replace W1 with W2 than to search for a new customer for that flight.
Dual launches have already in the past caused long delays for Ariane flights--if one satellite has problems, the other one can't be launched on its own. (At least, that would make no commercial sense.)
Flight 503, conducted under ESA responsibility, will be the last of the Ariane-5 qualification flights. The launcher used will be the first production series unit ordered by Arianespace from European industry.
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The Tsiklon-3 booster rocket with the Kosmos satellites 2352 through 2357 aboard was launched from Russia's Plesetsk cosmodrome.
On June 23, a Zenit-2 rocket is to put into orbit Resurs-0-1, a satellite for social and economic purposes, ad five smaller satellites from Austria, Chile, Germany, Israel and Thailand respectively. More on the Israeli satellite later in this issue.
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Harris was selected as the prime contractor for the GE*Star Satellite System, which will utilise the Ka-Band frequency spectrum to provide global broadband multimedia services that handle [guess what] Internet traffic, video broadcasting, satellite news gathering, telemedicine and other applications. Beginning operations in 2002, the GE*Star Satellite System will complement the existing fleet of C-band and Ku-Band satellites operated by GE Americom.
As prime contractor for the first GE*Star Satellite System, Harris will provide the communications payload and lead the team delivering the spacecraft. The programme will be managed at facilities in the U.S. and France. Harris expects to use Aerospatiale satellite platforms for the spacecraft. Aerospatiale, based in Paris, has a satellite manufacturing facility located in Cannes, France, where the spacecraft integration will take place. [They also have a very effective sprinkler system there--ask Eutelsat! ;-]
I guess I've never mentioned Harris before in this so-called newsletter. So, here's how the company describes itself: "Harris has been a major supplier of satellite and space-related communication systems for commercial and military customers for nearly 50 years. Major space communications projects have included telemetry systems for Telstar and Minuteman satellites in the 1950's, processors for the Hubble Space Telescope, deployable mesh antennas for the Tracking Data Relay Satellite (TDRS), multiplexer systems for the U.S. Space Shuttle, instrument RF and antenna subsystems for the NASA's Scatterometer (NSCAT), processors for the Defense Support programme (DSP), and the audio-video distribution system for the international space station. Harris currently is developing the deployable mesh antennas for the Lockheed Martin Asia Cellular Satellite (ACeS) and the communications payloads for Ellipso, Inc. satellites."
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The integration of payload panels puts the first satellite, ICO F-1, on schedule for launch in mid-December 1998 aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS booster from Cape Canaveral Air Station, Florida.
Hughes is using an innovative assembly process to build the ICO satellite series, enabling the transmit and receive antenna modules as well as the forward and return transponder panels to be constructed simultaneously and then integrated with the satellite's bus module.
The final elements to be integrated on the F-1 are the state-of-the-art digital signal processors. Custom-designed for ICO, they offer greatly increased processing capacity over traditional analogue designs and much greater flexibility in the allocation of bandwidth and channels to antenna beams.
ICO plans to launch a total of 12 satellites, including two in-orbit spares, during a 20-month period ending in mid-2000. Five satellites are scheduled to be carried on Boeing Delta III rockets, also from Cape Canaveral, three on Proton boosters from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and three on Sea Launch Zeniths.
Hughes Space & Communications International is the prime contractor for the ICO space segment. The ICO body-stabilised MEO satellites are enhanced versions of the Hughes HS 601 flight-proven spacecraft, weighing 2,750 kilograms at launch.
The operational satellites will orbit at an altitude of 10,390 kilometers--divided equally between two orthogonal planes, each at 45 degrees to the equator--to provide complete, overlapping coverage of the earth. Each satellite will carry payloads operating in C-band and S-band to support 4,500 simultaneous telephone calls. The satellites are designed to operate for at least 12 years.
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GOES-10, which was launched in April 25, 1997, is currently stored in orbit, ready to replace GOES-8 or--9 when one of them fails. GOES-8 overlooks the east coast of North and South America, and well out into the Atlantic Ocean. GOES-9 overlooks the west coast and out into the Pacific Ocean, including Hawaii.
For the past year GOES-10 has been tested by NASA, NOAA, and contract engineers. It experienced problems several months ago, and was inverted, or simply put: it was turned upside down. It has been orbiting in the 'inverted' mode since then, and all systems have been performing well. [The software had to rewritten though as it was not prepared to receive weather pictures that are rotated by 180 degrees.]]
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Communications satellites are limited in the number of channels of information they can carry in a given space. One TechSat experiment will test superconducting materials that could allow such satellites to carry more channels in a smaller space by using superconducting filters to separate channels.
Another problem is charged particles that can damage components such as computers. A charged particle detector on TechSat will determine the frequency and damaging effects of charged particles impact. This information will help improve the durability and performance of future designs.
Satellites often require a launch that gives them a specific orientation and a rotation that helps keep them stable. TechSat contains a stabilisation system that allows it to be launched into an arbitrary orientation with no spin, and to stabilise and orient itself after release. It will provide a field test for a newly developed horizon sensor that will help the spacecraft stay pointed in the correct direction.
Gurwin TechSatII was designed and built by a team of students and engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and funded by its namesake, Joseph Gurwin of Long Island, N.Y., who also funded the first Gurwin TechSat.
Its relatively low cost is in contrast to the large collection of equipment designed to carry out tests of space hardware, and experiments in communication, remote sensing, astronomy and geoscience. It demonstrates the cost effectiveness of newer microsatellites with increased capabilities.
The two satellites cost a total of US$8 million to build and launch, with the second satellite costing slightly less than half. Typical costs for a full-size satellite weighing thousands of pounds run into tens of millions. Smaller satellites can be launched riding piggyback with other microsatellites on a larger satellite, as TechSatII will be, demonstrating another advantage to launching smaller spacecraft.
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is the country's premier scientific and technological centre for applied research and education. The American Technion Society (ATS) is the university's support organisation in the United States.
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Local Limerick Business man James Madden who owns the 'Radio Limerick 95,' which broadcasts on the Astra satellite, plans to start a satellite TV service later this year. Eros and SCT need not worry just yet, it will mostly screen Irish music and entertainment and be aimed at the 1,500 Irish pubs across Europe.
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The satellite launch is scheduled to take place on June 18 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS rocket. Specifically designed to offer simultaneous connectivity over the Americas and Europe, the Intelsat 805 will allow delivery to both sides of the Atlantic with a single transponder from its position at 55.5 degrees West.
The launch simulcast will be live on the Web on the 18th, starting at 2225 UTC (the launch window is from 2248 to 2352 UTC), and will continue for approximately fifty minutes following the launch. Intelsat will archive the video programmes for on-demand retrieval on the Intelsat home page for several weeks following the launch.
Intelsat has partnered with AudioScape to host the live and packaged video content in RealVideo format. Intelsat chose RealNetworks' RealVideo technology because it enables Internet users to play live and recorded video on demand, in real time, without delays. To access this video, viewers simply need to download the "RealPlayer" software, available free of charge from the RealNetworks Web site. Once downloaded, users can view the coverage of the launch by accessing the Intelsat Web site.
In North America, you can also watch the launch on Galaxy VI, 99 degrees West, transponder 5 (3.8 GHz) from 6:30 p.m. EDT.
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by Dr Sarmaz
His first try was to announce he wanted to transform Vox from a recycling channel, 49.9-percent owned by Keith Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, into a major force with at least 10 percent of the German market. Not exactly a major force, though, as 10 percent would mean that Vox would come in sixth (in May, five channels had an overall audience share of over 10 percent. Vox recorded 2.7 percent, the worst figure for a non-niche channel.)
"We are very keen to extend our business in Germany," Murdoch said, adding that he wanted to launch first-run feature films, sports and quality news on Vox but was being blocked by Bertelsmann. They gave him the cold shoulder on Monday: "We don't want to sell," said Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, chairman of CLT-Ufa, a joint venture of Bertelsmann's Ufa and Luxembourg's CLT. "For this reason we see no movement at Vox. We have a very long-term contract with Murdoch and we will stick to it. If Murdoch wants to invest in Vox, he is more than welcome."
"If we had unfettered control of Vox then yes," replied Murdoch, "whether it takes 700 or 900 million marks (US$388 million or US$500 million), we are willing to do whatever is necessary to make Vox a major force."
CLT-Ufa owns a 24.9 percent stake in Vox, as does France's Canal Plus. Despite being the larger shareholder, Murdoch cannot outvote Bertelsmann on investment decisions because any decision requires an 80 percent majority, Vox officials said.
Of course, CLT-Ufa would be rather crazy to allow Vox to gain a larger audience as all their other channels (without any involvement by KRM) are more popular, including RTL which is the market leader. Vox, remainder of an experiment to raise the quality of commercial TV, has over the past few years been used to recycle third-run movies nobody else wanted to broadcast.
Any problem? No, says KRM: "If we cannot use that (Vox), we will buy another station," he told Der Spiegel. Problem is that there is no station for sale. Apart from some minor niche channels, they all belong either to the CLT-Ufa group or to Leo Kirch's empire.
According to other sources, KRM is confident that Bertelsmann would finally give in: "Eventually we think we'll get it and we're working at it. If we can get a very big programme we can get up to nine or 10 percent of the market," he was quoted as saying.
Addressing the Media Forum in Cologne, KRM welcomed the European Commission's recent decision to block a digital pay TV alliance between Bertelsmann, Kirch and phone giant Deutsche Telekom. Probably not because it would have created a monopoly but because it would have not been a monopoly he controls such as BSkyB in the UK.
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"We were very keen on digital TV in Germany," said KRM, commenting his efforts to invest into DF1 early last year. Talks stalled because Kirch insisted on using his d-box, KRM revealed: "They thought we were wrong and we thought they were wrong. It was all very polite. But that [set-top box] was just not a good piece of equipment and it cost too much money."
Murdoch said the digital plans of his British Sky Broadcasting in Britain were more realistic. BSkyB has 5,000 people ready to install the decoders in homes across the country and the price is kept low to attract consumers.
"We'll subsidise it to get the box out there," he said--something that Kirch gave up very soon after it became clear that his d-box was by the majority of buyers, who travelled to Germany from as far as Moscow, used for almost everything but watching DF1.
KRM blamed Bertelsmann for finally killing the recent digital pay-TV deal with Kirch: "Bertelsmann have clearly deliberately caused [EU commissioner] Van Miert to reject the project," he said, adding that Kirch was "clearly very embarrassed by the whole thing."
So, will there be GSkyB? "We wouldn't really be interested unless we could have control of something," KRM said. "We have to see what happens to DF1, if he [Kirch] closes DF1. There may even be room for two platforms. We wouldn't rule that out."
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