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Satellite Update

The FCC granted SES Americom special temporary authority (STA) to drift its AMC-2 satellite to 101 degrees west longitude (WL) using 6423.5 MHz for telecommand transmissions and 3700.5 MHz, 4199.5 MHz and 12198.0 MHz for telemetry beacons. The STA also allows operation of AMC-2 at 101 degrees using conventional C- and Ku-band frequencies. The STA commenced Feb. 22 and is valid for 60 days. This information is from FCC Report SAT-00504.

The 101 degree orbital location is also used by SES Americom satellite AMC-4. In a Feb. 18 press release, SES said that the AMC-14 satellite was due to launch in March from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan and mentioned the co-location of the satellites.

“Our customer, EchoStar, is contracting the entire payload of this satellite to support the development of its pay-TV operations and services in North America,” SES Americom’s release said. “EchoStar will discontinue its interim use of the AMC-2 satellite in late February. The AMC-2 satellite will then be co-located with the AMC-4 satellite at 101 degrees West, strengthening the service offering within the North American footprint and enabling the activation and commercialisation of transponders into South America.”

In a Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 08-64)this week, the FCC denied applications for review filed by DirecTV Enterprises LLC, EchoStar Satellite LLC, and Telesat Canada seeking review of two International Bureau license grants.

DirecTV and EchoStar asked for review of the grant of a license to Spectrum Five LLC to provide Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) service to U.S. consumers from two Netherlands-authorized satellites. Telesat Canada wanted the FCC to review its decision to grant EchoStar authority to construct a satellite to provide DBS service to U.S. consumers from the 86.5 degree WL orbital location.

In reviewing the records, commission affirmed the International Bureau’s decision. “We find no reason to reverse the bureau’s grant of Spectrum Five’s petitions for declaratory ruling the 114.5 degree WL orbital location, or the Bureau’s decision to grant, in part, EchoStar’s application to launch and operate a DBS satellite at the 86.5 degree WL orbital location,” the FCC said. “Consequently, we deny the applications for review of the Spectrum Five grant, filed by DirecTV and EchoStar, and the application for review of the EchoStar grant, filed by Telesat.”

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.