I know, I've reported on the Ekspress K satellite deal before, so the first article in this so-called newsletter is a bit redundant but the official press release I finally got hold of adds some details. Besides, it's really hard to find anything official about planned Russian satellite systems. And by the way, don't miss today's Joke du Jour.
According to the terms of the contract, the Russian Space Agency and the Telecommunications Committee, will place their orbital positions at the disposal of the signatories, will launch the satellites, and authorise their exploitation, thus permitting commercial operations of the satellites, and a return on investment to the financial partners associated with the venture.
These satellites, whose power is at least five times superior to the satellites currently in service in Russia, will provide telephony, fax and data transmission services to the entire territory of the Russian Federation. They will also increase the capacity for television broadcasting. Because of the highly flexible configuration of the satellites, the Russian authorities can choose, depending on the final orbital positions, to cover the national territory only, or to communicate with Western countries.
The first satellite will be based on Aerospatiale Satellite's ultra-modern Spacebus 3000 spacecraft. The following spacecraft will be the result of co-operative efforts between the three firms for the creation of a new platform, Express 2000, well adapted to direct injection into geostationary orbit by the Russian launcher Proton.
Aerospatiale Satellites and Alcatel Espace have another co-operative venture with NPO-PM: Glonass, the Russian satellite-based positioning system.
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On June 17, 1998, MCHI entered into a Satellite Construction Contract with The Boeing Company. Satellite construction activities will be managed by the Boeing Satellite and Ground Control Systems organisation in Seal Beach, California. Boeing will leverage its experience with the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite programme to design and manufacture the Ellipso satellites. In addition to starting construction of the spacecraft, Boeing will finalise and validate the design of the complete Ellipso system, including the space, ground and terminal segments.
Satellite subcontractors are expected to include Harris Corporation, responsible for the Ellipso communications payload; Israel Aircraft Industries and AEC-Able Engineering. In addition, Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems will be the ground segment contractor, and L-3 Communications Corporation is responsible for the CDMA waveform technology.
Ellipso, Inc. previously announced on May 4, 1998 that The Boeing Company would be the system integrator for design, development, construction and deployment of the Ellipso system. At that time Boeing was also named as the Ellipso space segment prime contractor. Systems integration and satellite design and development activities will be managed by the Boeing Communications & Information Management organisation in Anaheim, California.
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According to strategic research by Frost & Sullivan, "World Broadband Satellite Service and Equipment Markets," corporate take-up of the technology to support enterprise networks will help to drive the market to US$9.14 billion in world-wide service revenues in 2004 alone.
Furthermore, the emergence of the new broadband systems will be a bonanza for manufacturers of satellites and satellite earth stations. Frost & Sullivan estimates that cumulative investment in broadband satellites will reach US$18.72 billion from 1998 to 2004. Moreover, cumulative investment in ground systems is forecast to reach US$7.06 billion from 1998 to 2004.
Although widespread deployment of geostationary and low-Earth orbit Ka-band satellites will not occur until early in the next decade, the market is already beginning to emerge through conventional satellite technology. The most prominent example of this emergence is the growing use of satellites by Internet service providers (ISPs) outside the United States. These ISPs use a satellite link to bypass the multiple router hops and overseas fibre bottlenecks that normally would obstruct data communications. Another rapidly growing market segment is individual Internet access via satellite.
According to Frost & Sullivan, one final factor that will drive the broadband market is that many of the traditional C-band and Ku-band satellites are rapidly becoming crowded, particularly in North America and Europe. This spectrum scarcity will push satellite operators into the Ka-band frequencies.
Surprisingly, Frost & Sullivan do not mention any possible technical problems in their press release--although there are some, especially as far as true, individual Internet access via satellite is concerned. The statement also does not mention that Ka-band frequencies are much more subject to atmospheric attenuation than C- and Ku-band frequencies. No Internet access in case it rains? Maybe. Satellite services generally are guaranteed to work 95 or 99 percent of the time.
Notwithstanding, Frost & Sullivan say that prospective service providers will face other challenges, with marketing foremost. "Low-cost broadband service is very new for any technology," said Greg Caressi, one of Frost & Sullivan's satellite industry analysts. "Landline equivalents to satellite services aren't widely available, so potential customers won't even know to seek these services out."
"Moreover, many satellite companies are unknown to the general populace," he said. This lack of customer awareness means that outlays for marketing and customer education must be substantial in the early years of any satellite-Internet service.
In case you're interested: the report (#5266-60) will set you back just US$2,950.
Frost & Sullivan: http://www.frost.com/
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It's going to be one of that boring campaigns which target international business travellers [others probably couldn't afford Iridium services anyway.] Prepare yourself for a load of print and television advertising as well as outdoor advertising. In some markets, powerful lasers will beam Iridium's logo onto clouds. [It think there should be some kind of campaign against the abuse of clouds by advertising agencies.]
The rest of the Iridium press release is just too silly to be quoted. Maybe you're interested in the fact, though, that Iridium has meanwhile reached distribution agreements with 209 regional wireless service providers and roaming partners. As expected (and reported earlier,) the service does not necessarily act as a phone provider but rather as a switchboard in the sky, proving connectivity only when terrestrial services are unavailable. Or, as another Iridium statement said: "Subscribers around the world will have the benefit of remaining connected anywhere in the world, through the Iridium network. They will remain connected by using mobile hand-held telephones with both satellite and cellular capability--allowing use of the Iridium satellite network when local wireless services are unavailable."
The funny thing about all this is that Iridium originally claimed it would provide underdeveloped regions of the world with phone services, which may be true in a way but certainly not for those who actually live in those regions (see the business traveller advertising campaign.)
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These are, however, just the "involuntary layoffs." Missiles & Space this week offered a Voluntary Layoff Plan to employees eligible for retirement. The company also anticipates that attrition will account for a significant share of the reductions.
Depending on the rate of attrition and response to the Voluntary Layoff Plan, the company is projecting 1,000 to 1,500 involuntary layoffs.
"The actions we are taking, though difficult, are necessary to position this enterprise for the future in an intensely-competitive global marketplace," said Missiles & Space President Mike Henshaw. "Our business environment is driven by innovative technical solutions at the lowest cost."
"We are doing everything possible," he added, "to minimise the number of involuntary layoffs." According to Henshaw, the actions reflect the recent loss of business contract competitions, a delay in major programme orders, and the changing nature of the Missiles & Space enterprise. "We are nearing the conclusion of an historic consolidation in our industry," he said. "Our marketplace is driven by fewer, but larger aerospace companies competing aggressively in a cost-driven environment."
Recently, Motorola (leader of the Iridium consortium) announced if would sack 10 percent of its workforce world-wide. [Obviously, they use the money they save for global brand advertising; currently there's almost no commercial break on German TV without a Motorola ad. I have the feeling that Lockheed's announcement will not be the last of its kind, as far as the satellite industry is concerned. Quite logical as satellites are on the verge of becoming mass products that are no longer manually assembled.]
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It was due to the ignorance of the development of China's Chang Zheng (Long March) launch vehicles that some Americans think China's ten successful launches in the past two years were the result of U.S. assistance, Zhang was quoted as saying by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua.
As he put it, everything went fine until the Intelsat 708 incident [I still prefer to call it a massacre instead] on February 15, 1996. The Chang Zheng 3B rocket veered off course, slammed into a settlement, killed at least six people, injured dozens, and destroyed 80 homes. [No, he did not say that. That's from my archive.]
The Chinese aerospace industry then adopted strict measures to minimise problems, improve the production process and ensure the quality of its product, Zhang said. It established detailed regulations, including 72 articles for production management, 28 articles for quality control and five "go-no-go" criteria. "This is what's behind the 10 consecutive successes since 1996," Zhang said.
Underestimating the ability of Chinese rocket experts by some Americans is "illogical and unreasonable," Zhang added. He went on that "U.S. companies could suffer nearly one billion U.S. dollars in losses if Washington banned them from continuing their contracts with the CGWIC." He said his company would turn to European partners should such a ban be imposed.
What a coincidence--next month CGWIC will launch the French-made Sinosat 1. It has to be noted, though, that any Western company usually books [or rather: has to book] Chang Zheng launches when the satellites were ordered by Chinese companies or by firms under Chinese influence. I am not aware of any Chinese launch of geostationary satellites that do not serve China in a way. Intelsat 708 was an exception, of course, as Intelsat is an international organisation that tries to satisfy each and every one of its signatories, including China. However, after the Intelsat 708 massacre, there have been no Intelsat launches on Chang Zheng rockets.
The only real success, if there was any, has been the launch of a few Iridium satellites into low-Earth orbit on specially adapted versions of the Chang Zheng which nonetheless cannot be compared the the Chinese rockets designed to put heavy satellites into a geostationary transfer orbit.
Words of wisdom by Billy C.
In related news, U.S. president Monica... Paula... Hillary... Viagra... Bill Clinton proved that we all get wiser while we're getting older [and have less sex???] First of all, he said that American companies with business interests in China [Loral Space & Communications] "haven't bought the policy of this government" with big-money contributions to Democrats. Okay, believe that... or not.
He also complained, and that's truly remarkable, that the United States seems "to have gotten sanction-happy" in punishing countries around the world for behaviour Americans do not like. Exactly that's the problem Mr Clinton! What about the sanctions put up against Cuba or Iraq or Serbia? What about trade sanctions against the European Union for their Banana policy? Stop that nonsense, and people all over the world will recognise you as the most important U.S. president of this century.
Clinton also said that on his upcoming nine-day visit to China he was ready to compete with Chinese President Jiang Zemin if, as he has done before, he breaks into song with Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender." "I know all the verses to 'Love Me Tender,'" Clinton said.
OF COURSE HE DOES!
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by Dr Sarmaz
And that's it, except for the fact that one week ago KRM told German news magazine Der Spiegel he was not interested in co-operation with Kirch, who is in some kind of trouble after the rejection by the European Commission of his plans for an alliance with Bertelsmann on digital television. What's more, KRM has in the past tried to buy a majority stake in Berlusconi's media empire twice and got rebuffed twice.
KRM recently said he would like to increase his 49.9 percent share in commercial German TV channel Vox, but German media giant Bertelsmann said they would not sell their 24.9-percent stake to KRM.
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The amateur rocket was to be launched from a high altitude balloon--a concept called "rockoon". But actually the rocket fell from the balloon as it was just about two metres in the air and broke.
The members of the Huntsville Alabama L5 Society, a chapter of the U.S. National Space Society, will take the rocket back to Huntsville for tests to determine what went wrong. No date has been set for the next launch attempt.
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John received a parrot for his birthday. This parrot was fully grown with a bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an expletive.... those that weren't expletives were, to say the least, rude.
John tried hard to change the bird's attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music, anything he could think of to try and set a good example. Nothing worked. He yelled at the bird... and the bird got worse. He shook the bird... and the bird got more angry and more rude.
Finally, in a moment of desperation, John put the bird in the freezer. For a few moments John heard the bird squawking and kicking and screaming Then... suddenly... there was silence. John was frightened that he might have actually hurt the bird and quickly opened the freezer door.
The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's extended arm and said: "I am sorry that I might have offended you with my language and actions and I ask for your forgiveness. I will endeavour to correct my behaviour."
John was, needless to say, astounded at the bird's change in attitude, and was just about to ask the parrot what had made such a drastic change, when the parrot spoke again and said "May I ask what the chicken did?"
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