Sat-ND, 30.12.96

Sat-ND 96-12-30 - Satellite and Media News

This service is provided free of charge for personal use. It may be
reproduced for non-commercial reasons only, provided the following notice
is included:
"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
Please send money, news releases, contributions and comments regarding
Sat-ND to
Peter C. Klanowski, Fax +49-451-5820055, pck@LyNet.De

This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<


It can't get no worse
According to news agency Itar-Tass, Russia will launch an almost incredible
bouquet of various spacecraft -- even though 1996 turned out to be the
worst year yet for the country's space industry. Apart from the spectacular
MARS 96 disaster, two Soyuz-U boosters exploded, and a RADUGA satellite
failed to reach its orbit.
The most important event next year will be the first launch from Russia's
new, far-eastern cosmodrome Svobodny, although it's just a modified SS 20
combat missile that is going to be fired. But then again, that should have
taken place this year. Unfortunately, the satellite wasn't ready yet. What
satellite? Nobody really knows (Sat-ND, 16.12.96.) 
Among the satellites announced for 1997 are RESURS O-1 and FOTON (Earth and
resource monitoring,) KUPON and YAMAL (used for communications purposes of
the Central Bank of Russia and gas giant Gazprom respectively,) KORONAS-F
(sun research,) and OKEAN-O (ocean research.) 
There are, of course, commercial launches for foreign customers as well.
While there were just two such launches in 1996 (for INMARSAT and SES
[ASTRA],) Russia hopes for nine commercial starts in 1997. Customers
include IRIDIUM, ASTRA and PAS satellites. Just a few weeks ago, the
December launches of TCI's geostationary TEMPO satellite and Motorola's
IRIDIUM satellites were postponed (Sat-ND, 12.12.96.) 
According to Russian officials, the delay results from customers' requests
and was not connected to the MARS 96 disaster. On the other hand, the U.S.
company International Launch Services (ILS,) which also markets Proton
launches, claims all activities involving the Russian carrier rocket are
halted while investigations into the MARS 96 launch failure were still
going on. 
Re-scheduling, however, seems to have become a habit. According to
Itar-Tass, "practically all launches from the Russian cosmodromes had to be
rescheduled repeatedly because of the shortage of funds" in the second half
of 1996. 

ADR: digital dino
ADR (ASTRA digital radio) will probably phased out during the next century.
This is the most important message of a press statement released by German
regional broadcaster WDR. The Cologne-based station today officially
launched its five radio programmes in ADR format on ASTRA transponder 39.
Four of them have been transmitted for test purposes for quite while,
though. They were joined today by the classical music channel WDR 3.
"Digital technology will develop further during the coming years, " said
WDR technical director Dr Dieter Hoff, adding he expects ADR to be replaced
by other digital transmission systems. In fact, those (in)famous digital TV
packages on the "digital" ASTRAs and other satellites already contain radio
The operating company of the ASTRA satellite system, Luxembourg's SES, has
undertaken to support ADR as long as there are analogue TV transmissions on
their satellites. Experts expect them to continue for eight to ten years.
However, there's no technical link between analogue TV and ADR. Although
ADR channels are currently transmitted within the unused bandwidth of a TV
signal, they might as well be combined to use a complete satellite
transponder, thus creating a kind of digital radio package. It seems that
this option will not be pursued by either SES or the broadcasters involved.
According to the WDR statement, the "small investment" into an ADR receiver
still was worthwhile. Apart from the fact that those receivers are far from
being cheap, the announcement that you have to throw them within eight to
ten years from now certainly is not a clever marketing strategy. 
While ADR may have a small market niche in German speaking countries, it is
of no importance whatsoever in other countries within the ASTRA satellites'
footprint. Apart from a few international broadcasters, so far only German
radio stations can be heard via ADR. Only the heavily troubled pay radio
service DMX Europe utilises the same technology (Sat-ND, 14.12.96.)

Famous last "Moo!"
So you thought the digital mad cow disease was a thing of the past? Not in
Germany. German public broadcaster ZDF may team up with Leo Kirch to offer
a digital TV channel. Kirch, who has interests in several commercial
channels and the digital TV service DF1, has ironically been ZDF's main
programming supplier as long as the channel exists. 
Just four weeks ago, ZDF and rivalling public broadcaster ARD announced
they would support the hardware industry in setting up a cheap digital
decoder (Sat-ND, 28.11.96.)
No longer. ZDF director Stolte told a press conference today that not only
he wasn't interested in a common "Volksdecoder" in co-operation with ARD.
Instead, there have been talks with Leo Kirch "and there still are."
However, even the seasonal business has not promoted the sale of Kirch's
decoder ("d-box.") Less than ten percent of the expected 200,000 decoders
were sold since the start of Kirch's DF1 package last July, reported news
agency dpa.

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe, send email to
Majordomo@tags1.dn.net and include the line
in the body of your message.

[Other mailing lists]