has been up for two weeks now, and a first glimpse at the log files
has been quite encouraging. There's not much yet on the site; the
only thing that's constantly being updated is the 'Special' section
that offers facts and figures about recent satellite failures
Having said that, I was really pleased to learn from the log files that sat-nd.com, for inexplicable reasons, seems to be extremely popular in Luxembourg. Most hits by far came from a certain computer there. Maybe they love the HS 601 table so much they have a look at it over and over again? But why? Who knows! Anyway, dear Aia, give my regards to Monty ;-))
The satellite, equipped with 24 C-band and 14 Ku-band transponders, will cover the entire Asia-Pacific region, China included. The satellite is owned by the Chinese Sino Satellite Communications Co. Ltd. Its expected lifetime is around 15 years.
Sinosat-1 will serve China's financial industry and especially Shanghai's information network, the official China Daily reported. Aerospatiale will be responsible for monitoring and controlling the satellite.
It was the fourth launch of a Chang Zheng 3B, China's strongest rocket which is capable of placing a 5-tonnes payload into geostationary transfer orbit.
A Chinese official was quoted as saying the launch was a turning point for Europe's space co-operation with China. This is not directly a result of the recent problems in the Sino-U.S. relationship, especially as far as launches of U.S. satellites are concerned. (Sinosat was ordered back in 1995.) But of course the launch couldn't have come at a more interesting time.
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The assessment was reportedly written by engineer Daniel Lilienstein for the International Satellite Telecommunications Organisation Intelsat. It's rather unclear why the paper was kept secret by the White House National Security Council [well... is it really that unclear?]
The report says that launch facilities not only lacked basic safety features but "fell pathetically short of the world standard in most areas." Lilienstein reportedly wrote that "Every time you launch, you stand a good chance of killing someone. This kind of callous disregard for human life is unconscionable and should not be supported by satellite operators."
The report was written shortly after the Intelsat-708 massacre on February 15, 1996 which cost an unknown number of lives, maybe up to 100. China has since claimed it has stepped up security measures, for instance by evacuating the area around the centre prior to launch attempts.
Nonetheless, the report reads like the Rocket Horror Picture Show, describing the Xichang centre as "a make-do kind of place" that was poorly equipped and manned by under-trained workers. For instance, uninsulated wiring gave workers electrical shocks frequently.
I don't know whether it's still the same, of course. It's quite likely that things have changed. The problem is that according to Lilienstein U.S. satellite makers were aware of these problems even back then. Notwithstanding, they apparently accepted the risk because of the lower overall cost of Chinese commercial launchers (up to 50 percent less than that of the Western competition.)
According to news reports, Hughes Electronics sent several memos to the Clinton administration, pointing out that thousands of California jobs depended on satellite exports. Some of the declassified documents also show the administration was under pressure from lawmakers of both parties to allow a freer flow of high-tech exports to China and other Asian countries.
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Hughes spokeswoman Fran Slimmer was quoted as saying that "We haven't isolated any one part" responsible for the SCP problems. "We want to ensure that we fully understand the nature of the problems affecting our on-orbit satellites," said Donald Cromer, president of Hughes Space and Communications.
"We will not launch until we determine what caused the anomalies, and have thoroughly checked out all our remaining satellites on the ground to prevent any such problems from recurring," he added.
The launch delay is expected to be at least one to two weeks.
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According to our sources, dentritic growth in a relay is thought to have caused most of the problems with the SCPs on Galaxy IV and Galaxy VII.
There's some additional news about Galaxy IV that may answer the question why both SCPs got killed. It seems one of them was zapped by a short in the relay while the other one was blown when a (yet unexplained) short in a motor damaged its control circuitry.
Contrary to the report in Sat-ND, 17.07.1998, it seems the relay short has actually killed the SCPs involved. The 'read-only' scenario applies only to the motor short described above.
All this has so far neither been confirmed by Hughes or its PanAmSat subsidiary.
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The launch date coincides with the 30th anniversary of the 1968 Revolution that brought the ruling Baath party to power. President Saddam Hussein's anniversary speech inaugurated the satellite channel.
Iraq's Minister of Information and Culture, Humam Abdul-Khaliq, probably is not quite what I would call a satellite expert. Broadcasting on the regional Nilesat 101 would, in his words, "help convey to the whole world and peace-loving peoples a clear picture of Iraq and the effects of the sanctions imposed on it for eight years now."
No problem with that, but Nilesat 101 (like any other geostationary satellite) does by no means cover the whole world. The new channel will initially broadcast three hours of programmes a day to the Middle East and North Africa. Reception in Europe may not be impossible, depending on location and dish size.
Iraq last year tried to set up a satellite channel on Arabsat, which is owned by several Arab states, but the organisation reportedly wanted Iraq to pay its debts first. An attempt to lease capacity on Turkey's Türksat system failed as well. It's not known how Iraq will pay Egypt for its channel on Nilesat--certainly not in cash, and maybe not at all.
Cairo's relations with Iraq have improved since Baghdad stepped up its imports from Egypt. An oil-for-food programme allows Iraq to bypass the sanctions and sell limited amounts of oil in order to buy food, medicine and humanitarian goods.
Egypt Online: http://www.uk.sis.gov.eg/online/html/index.htm
Egypt, the 60th Member in Space Club: http://www.uk.sis.gov.eg/online/html/o080398a.htm
The Iraq Action Coalition (IAC) is an independent grassroots coalition dedicated to ending the war on the people of Iraq: http://leb.net/IAC/main.html
Global Movement to End the War Against Iraq: http://leb.net/globalmewi/
Help End the War Against Iraq: Say NO! to Bombs and NO! to Sanctions: http://www.iraq.org/
This site, is for ALL Iraqis regardless of their affiliations, religions, ethnic backgrounds .. etc.: http://www,iraq.net/
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Or have a look at http://sat-nd.com/info/mailer.html