It had been known that EchoStar IV has had some problems with one of its solar panels which did not properly deploy. EchoStar said in a statement that another unrelated anomaly has been detected recently, which resulted in the loss of a primary and a spare transponder.
As a consequence, EchoStar IV will not replace EchoStar I at 119 degrees West as previously planned but be moved to 148 degrees West. It is expected to begin providing local, educational, foreign language, data and other niche services to the Western United States by September 1, 1998.
EchoStar, which is licensed to used 24 frequencies at 148 degrees West, will initially have at least 22 transponders of capacity available on EchoStar IV. The number of available transponders will decrease over time, but at least 16 transponders should be available for the full planned twelve-year life of the satellite.
Said EchoStar chairman Charlie Ergen: "Unfortunately, the failures we have experienced and the fact that we share the 119 degrees West orbital slot with Primestar, means that we don't have the flexibility to operate some of the back up capacity built into the satellite if we positioned EchoStar IV at 119 degrees West."
EchoStar said it intends to file an insurance claim with respect to EchoStar IV in the near future. The company expects to use insurance proceeds, together with other funds, to launch a new DBS satellite to the 119 degrees West location in approximately three years. EchoStar I could then be moved to one of the company's other DBS orbital locations and would provide in-orbit back-up.
EchoStar III: Another Hot Bird
EchoStar also said that EchoStar III, launched in October 1997, had a problem with "certain of the electric power converters (EPCs)" which were operating at "higher than expected temperatures. The high EPC temperatures may require certain transponders on EchoStar III to be turned off for several weeks during summer and winter solstice seasons to avoid overheating."
As a result, the satellite's transponders will have to be run at just 120 watts each, which is enough to allow reception with 40-cm dishes in the continental United States. In that mode, tests indicate substantially all of the satellite's 32 transponders could be available for the full life of the satellite notwithstanding the anomalies.
EchoStar is currently licensed to operate only 11 transponders at the 61.5 degrees West location. If the satellite were operated at a "super high" 230 watts per channel, approximately half of its 16 channel capacity would be unavailable during solstice seasons by the end of the satellite's planned life.
While causes for the anomalies have not been definitively established, EchoStar said it appears that the problems relate to design and construction of the satellites, and not to any problems during launch. The anomalies appear to be unique to each satellite. There is no indication that anomalies experienced by either satellite are likely to be repeated on the other. Both satellites are an A2100AX design built by Lockheed Martin.
The insurance claims will be filed through EchoStar's insurance broker, J&H Marsh & McLennan. Total losses claimed are expected to exceed US$200 million.
Recent satellite outages and failures: http://sat-nd.com/special/
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Reportedly, a team of up to 100 Hughes engineers has pinpointed a relay (a rather simple electromechanical component) as the root of all evil. A short in that component, caused by a mechanism described as "dentritic growth" [which is being experimented with in microgravity but in this case is an unwanted side effect] is said to have triggered the following chain of events.
The results looked a bit different on any of the satellites involved. Those which have C-band transponders aboard lost some of them temporarily. It happened to Galaxy VII on June 13, 1998--after that, the primary satellite control processor (SCP) was defunct. It happened to Galaxy IV on June 13, 1997-- after that, the secondary SCP was dead which went unnoticed until May 19, 1998 when a similar failure killed the satellite's primary SCP.
All that happened seems to have happened to DBS-1 as well, but it's neither an PanAmSat bird nor does it carry any C-band capacity. Nonetheless, it's a Hughes HS 601HP (high power) model that may have suffered from a similar failure.
Anyway, it seems that the SCP's aren't really dead but have become unable to communicate with the devices they should control, such as the momentum wheel, etc. In computer terms, they have become "read-only devices." In the end, it makes no difference at all.
Dentritic Growth: http://www.rpi.edu/locker/56/000756/
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In some countries such as Germany it is actually even more complicated than that, but I'll spare you the details. The EU Commission does, after all, not deny the right of a single company to snap up exclusive sports TV rights. It said the EU competition law should be applied to such deals, which means that sports events have finally become pure business.
Exclusive rights could only be held for a "limited period", the document said. It said a "longer period" might be appropriate for events which occurred only every four years [and those, as we all know, are usually the most important ones.] In addition, the Commission calls for any company to sublicense exclusive rights which "may be the only fair way" to deal with potential competition problems.
The EU Commission had better saved some trees by not wasting paper to print such trivialities: of course, anybody who has the exclusive rights for major sports events will try to squeeze the most of of it by sublicensing and recycling them in eternity. Otherwise the costs (which already have arrived at a level that can only be called totally insane) could not be recovered.
For example, Bavarian media mogul Leo Kirch has to pay US$1.8 billion for the World Cup rights. Of course he's going to sell sublicences to just about anybody. [There's a good chance, for example, that German football fans will be able to watch the World Cup 2002 on Kirch's free sport channel DSF until at least 2006.] The problem is whether it's in the interest of the public to be able to watch major sports events two hours, two days or maybe even two years after they took place.
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by Dr Sarmaz
The paper can't really explain the move, saying there were various hypotheses. KRM might take a 49-percent stake in Stream directly, or his British pay-TV unit BSkyB may team up with France's Canal Plus to take 39 percent of Stream.
Anyway, it seems KRM is mainly interested in the Italian digital television platform to be set up by Telecom Italia and others. It will compete with the digital bouquet already offered by Telepiù.
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David Priestley forwarded me an excerpt from Jonathan's Space Report which reveals that the sixth satellite, an Australian one, was called "WESTPAC (formerly WPLTN-1.)"
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What did I write? "... an accumulated world-wide audience of 37 billion viewers."
What was I trying to say by "accumulated"? This figure is derived by simply adding the number of viewers of each and every match. [I know that the world's population is not quite at 37 billion yet ;-]
Or have a look at http://sat-nd.com/info/mailer.html