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Rotary said in a statement it was on schedule to fly an approach and landing demonstrator or "Atmospheric Test Vehicle" in the first half of 1999, and a propulsion flight test vehicle in the second half of 1999.
The Roton will be piloted during all development and operational flights as this has proven to be the safest way of operating any air or space vehicle. The Roton will, initially, be targeted at the burgeoning market for deploying constellations of low Earth orbit (LEO) telecommunications satellites.
"We will offer commercial service to low Earth orbit during the first half of 2000, with cargo deployments and cargo retrievals supervised by the Roton's two-person crew," said Gary Hudson, CEO.
Because the composite materials used for most major Roton parts are simply and quickly replicated off inexpensive molds, Hudson noted, the company will be able to build a stream of vehicles at modest incremental cost. This will allow the company to pursue a variety of different markets, flying frequently from launch sites all over the globe.
The Roton burns ordinary kerosene for fuel, compared to the much more expensive liquid hydrogen used on the U.S. Space Shuttle and planned for NASA's X-33 suborbital test vehicle. This will make the Roton inexpensive to fly as well as inexpensive to build. Kerosene also is denser than hydrogen, so the Roton will be more compact and consequently easier and cheaper to develop than vehicles using the difficult to handle supercold liquid hydrogen.
Now for the Rotary bit. The Roton lands using helicopter-style rotors. These rotors are simply folded flat against the vehicle's sides during powered flight. They are deployed during the descent, ensuring that the Roton is fully under the control of its highly trained flight crew at all times.
The "Rotary" in the company's name also refers to the RocketJet which utilises centrifugal force to spin fuel and oxidiser out to dozens of small combustors arranged in a ring pattern. The simple spin-fed design eliminates the need for the heavy and expensive turbopumps that are used in most current expendable rockets and the Space Shuttle.
Rotary Rocket: http://www.rotaryrocket.com/
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Placing sensitive satellites safely into orbit has meant finding a way to reduce the brutal G-force shocks induced by launch vehicle motors, especially the engines of smaller-class, liquid-fueled rockets, which vibrate more than their larger, solid-fuel counterparts.
[That especially applies to all those rockets that names usually remind yours truly of condom brands.] The 'whole-spacecraft isolation system' was tried las February aboard an Orbital Sciences Corporation Taurus-2 that put the Navy's GEOSAT Follow-On, or GFO, satellite into orbit.
During Taurus-2 launch load testing, engineers discovered too much stress was being placed on the GFO payload and that it either had to be structurally beefed-up or the vibrations reduced.
It is estimated that AFRL's isolator system, which was delivered in four months, saved GFO prime contractor Ball Aerospace approximately three to six months and millions of dollars in redesign efforts.
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"Responding to a commercial boom, while continuing to handle the relatively steady stream of government projects and keep up with new technology, presents a significant challenge to market participants", says Frost & Sullivan's Telecommunications Satellite Industry Analyst Megan Marek. "Growth opportunities within the launch vehicle segment lie in developing vehicles to accommodate changing satellite structures."
Frost & Sullivan's press release did not contain any interesting facts, except that their report 5422-66 costs just US$2950.
Frost & Sullivan: http://www.frost.com/
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"Its main functions will be to provide an information network and cash transfer system for domestic banks,"a senior official from Sino Satellite Communications Co Ltd (Sinosatcom), Beijing, was quoted as saying. The spacecraft will also be used for enterprise networks, national air traffic control and TV broadcasting.
Sino Satellite, set up in 1995, was a joint venture at equal parts of the People's Bank of China, the Shanghai city government, China Aerospace Corp and the Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, the official said.
Although Sinosat reaches not only China but also some neighbouring countries, there are no international customers yet.
In the coming weeks Sinosat-1 will be transferred to its geostationary position, 110.5 degrees East. Then check-out tests will be performed so that the spacecraft will be operational by the end of August. Sinosatcom will provide the uplinks in China.
The project's prime contractor is "EurasSpace--Gesellschaft für Raumfahrttechnik GmbH" (Munich, Germany), a subsidiary of Dornier Satellitensysteme GmbH (DSS, Munich/Friedrichshafen) which in turn is a unit of Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA.)
EurasSpace was set up in 1994 by Daimler-Benz Aerospace AG (Dasa, Munich) and China Aerospace Corporation (CASC). In agreement with CASC, Dasa has transferred its share to DSS. The company is owned on a fifty-fifty basis by the two parent companies.
EurasSpace procured the satellite from the French company Aerospatiale on the basis of a "Spacebus 3000" with 24 C-band and 14 Ku-band transponders. Dornier Satellitensysteme GmbH provided the attitude and orbit control, satellite propulsion, solar array and antenna subsystems.
Sinosat-1 has been the first satellite project of "EurasSpace". The company signed a so-called "In-Orbit-Delivery" contract with Sinosatcom. Under this contract, "EurasSpace" was responsible for delivering the fully functional Sinosat-1 in geostationary orbit to Sinosatcom.
EurasSpace's contractual tasks included the installation and equipment of the Chinese ground station, as well as risk management (e.g. arrangement for a launch insurance for the customer). Thus, as the consortium leader, EurasSpace also had arranged the financing of the Sinosat programme together with the German Reconstruction Loan Corporation. [Hope they have a good time reconstructing the People's Republic of China.]
Try http://www.sinosat.com/--it's redirected to http://www2.ap.net.hk/apnet/index.cfm, the site of an Internet access provider in Hong Kong.
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This plan, according to Dasa chief Manfred Bischoff, would create the world's third largest company in the satellite business with estimated sales of around DM4.5 billion (US$ 2.5 billion) and some 8,270 employees.
Dasa and Matra-Marconi are each to hold 50 percent in the venture which could be realised this year. Matra Marconi Space is a joint venture of General Electric Co Plc and Lagardere Groupe.
No further details were available at time of writing. Such a move would be highly interesting as Dasa as well as its DSS satellite manufacturing unit so far has been a close partner of France's Aerospatiale.
This may be Dasa's answer to the recent consolidation in the French satellite industry which combined the satellite activities of Alcatel, Aerospatiale, Thomson-CSF and Cegelec within a single company.
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He was quoted as saying that "The only way to do that is to privatise this place and get it into the stock exchange as a private company."
Mr Goldstein nonetheless has paved the road to total commercialisation. Intelsat has already spun off five of its 25 satellites into a Netherlands-based company by the name of New Skies Satellite NV--of course, the new company runs exactly those Intelsat satellites that are commercially interesting.
Mr Goldstein also achieved a reduction of full-time staff from 1,000 to 650--future shareholders will be most pleased.
Trying to break Intelsat's culture of lifetime employment, Mr Goldstein shed 120 high-level positions through a generous early retirement program, helping to reduce the full-time staff from 1,000 to 650.
Mr Kullman is an engineer who formerly worked for Saab Space AB in Sweden, designing computer systems for Ariane rockets, experimental satellites and early direct-to-home broadcasting satellites. He joined Intelsat in 1983, taking on computer and software design responsibilities and later directing launch operations and research. His most recent position was vice president for operations and engineering.
Mr Kullman said one of his first priorities will be to remove Intelsat's treaty-based privileges which have in his words been "more of a hindrance than a benefit." It is protected, for example, from being sued for violating antitrust laws. It also has tax advantages in many member nations.
Apart from commercialisation, Intelsat (or what will be left of it) will have to look for new business opportunities using their satellites, such as offering Internet connectivity. Telephony nowadays runs over glass fibre cables, and competitors such as PanAmSat and Orion have been eating into Intelsat's video business.
The question remains: what about less developed countries that nowadays have to rely on Intelsat for their telecommunications needs? According to Mr Kullman, there may be a new, yet much smaller treaty organisation to serve them. Just maybe, because such an organisation can hardly be financed without the participation of industrialised nations. As to that respect, the non-commercial and privileged Intelsat made a lot of sense.
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The agreement, to become effective September 1, 1998, will add Escales, Groupe AB's travel and tourism channel, to TPS' basic package of digital channels. In addition, TPS will offer subscribers a new option package comprised of five thematic channels wholly owned by Groupe AB. The new service, to be known as the Passion option, will include AB 1 (series and fictions), Chasse et Peche (hunting and fishing), Action (movies), XXL (adult) and a new animation channel Cartoon/Mangas.
This agreement provides Groupe AB with access to TPS' 450,000 basic subscribers and significantly increases the distribution of the AB Sat channels.
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Under terms of the agreement, CD Radio will make World Radio Network, which presents English language news and public affairs programming from the world's leading broadcast organisations, available to all subscribers of its satellite-to-car broadcast service scheduled for launch beginning next year in the U.S. In addition, the companies have agreed to develop a second service for exclusive broadcast on CD Radio.
Based in London, World Radio Network has listeners in more than 50 countries. World Radio Network features regularly scheduled programming from over two dozen broadcasters around the globe.
CD Radio: http://www.cdradio.com/
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Mr Boulos paid just under A$3 million for Australis's remaining transmission equipment, including uplink facilities, together with the Nightmoves R-rated programming. The channel so far reportedly has 35,000 subscribers.
Mr Boulos's Television & Radio Broadcasting Services in future plans to broadcast ethnic programmes via direct-to-home satellites, as well as selling Nightmoves to Foxtel, Optus Vision and regional pay-TV operator Austar. All three at present screen Nightmoves, but at least Foxtel is believed to start offering its own 'adult' programming.
Regina Leviste-Boulos, managing the group, said the group would attempt to win about 100,000 subscribers to the ethnic TV services in the coming year. "There is a very big market for ethnic TV programming in Australia and we have the marketing skills to be able to make it a success," Ms Leviste-Boulos was quoted as saying. [But do they have the programming? Just wondering.]
She even has an answer to Foxtel's expected plans of offering self-made adult programming: it would damage the reputation of its half-owner Telstra. "Being a public company, they wouldn't want to be associated with the perceptions people have about this sort of programming."
It's not known what kind of perceptions the Boulos couple have about that sort of programming.
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The paper said the time may come when the regulatory structure needs to be replaced by a completely new model to properly regulate the rapidly-changing business. Nonetheless, it stopped short of advocating the creation of a single watchdog for the rapidly converging media and telecoms industries, contrasting sharply with proposals made by a parliamentary committee earlier this year.
The government's green paper adopts a wait and see approach on regulation, arguing that it was too early to predict the impact of new technologies on media and telecoms. It said developing a new system of regulation around a prediction of what the digital world would look like would be risky. If the prediction was wrong it will leave the regulatory system obsolete.
In a briefing, officials stressed that the paper marked the start of of a four-month consultation period, with a follow-up statement of conclusions expected early next year.
The paper was published jointly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Trade and Industry.
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by Dr Sarmaz
A Telecom Italia spokesman noted that Telecom Italia also was talking to other interested groups. A BSkyB spokesperson declined to comment on the news saying that "people talk to us all the time." [Ha, ha. How dare they offer the public crappy bullshit statements like that?! This is the umpteenth time I heard that sentence from BSkyB, admittedly not only from them but from about any other major European broadcaster.]
Italy's Communications under-secretary Vincenzo Vita was quoted as saying "I don't want to demonise anyone. But as an Italian and a European, I want to ask one question.
"In such an important sector, international alliances are indispensable. The problem is finding partners who can guarantee an offer compatible with Italy and Europe," he told reporters.
"In that sense, the inspiration of a group like [U.S. citizen Keith] Rupert Murdoch's seems quite a long way away," he added.
He said that although Telecom was completely independent, it was still running a concession and it would have been polite to let the government know whom it was talking to. "It is legitimate for the government to express its opinion," he was quoted as saying.
Telecom Italia also said any future partner in its television activities must have the approval of public television group RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana, because the two are linked by an agreement over digital television.
Telecom and public broadcaster RAI struck a deal a year ago with France's Canal Plus and its Italian unit Telepiu, as well as commercial terrestrial broadcaster Cecchi Gori Communications, to set up a single, digital platform to beam digital pay-television to Italian homes.
The deal was more or less killed by Super-Karel, or Karel van Miert, the EU commissioner in charge of acquisitions and mergers. The Commission indicated the deal would not pass scrutiny as such as platform would dominate the Italian digital market.
Following that, RAI and Telecom Italia last April announced a deal to set up a joint-venture company to operate, supply and distribute digital television and multimedia services in competition with Telepiu's D+ digital service.
The joint-venture would initially be 70 percent owned by Telecom and 30 percent by RAI, which earlier this year launched three niche digital satellite channels. Other companies could join, but Telecom would retain a stake of at least 51 percent.
The memorandum of understanding between RAI and Telecom expired in May. Media reports have suggested RAI is worried about the large costs of a digital platform start-up. A strong partner would come in handy in this situation, but selling a a controlling stake in Stream was "unthinkable" according to telecommunications ministry under-secretary Michele Lauria.
Keith Rupert Murdoch so far has made at least two other attempts to get a stronghold in Italy by taking over a controlling stake in Silvio Berlusconi's TV holding Mediaset.
Mr Berlusconi last March rejected an offer of 5.8 trillion lire (US$3.29 billion) for his stake in the company for both sentimental and national reasons, he said, although people familiar with the talks said the talks fell apart because the price offered was too low.
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The workers always talk about basketball.
Supervisors always talks about football.
Management always talks about tennis.
The executive staff always talks about golf.
What conclusion can we draw?
The higher up in the company, the smaller the balls.
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