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Deutsche Telekom’s DFS Kopernikus Gets Second Life

By | June 5, 2002

      In a move that could breath new life into Deutsche Telekom’s aging DFS Kopernikus 1 FM3 satellite, the Greek-Cypriote consortium Hellas-Sat has decided to take over the bird and move it to its own dedicated orbital position.

      DFS Kopernikus 1 FM3, which was replaced at the beginning of May by SES Astra’s new Astra 3A at 23.5 degrees East longitude, has already commenced the move to its new home, according to Deutsche Telekom’s spokesman Willfried Seibel. The satellite is currently drifting at a speed of 0.6 degrees per day to 39 degrees East longitude, the orbital slot registered for the Hellas-Sat project at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

      According to the ITU’s global satellite database, the registration by Greece and Cyprus at 39 degrees East covers the whole frequency range from C-band to Ka-band. Seibel explained that the DFS Kopernikus 1 FM3 is expected to reach its future orbital position in mid-June. The telecom bird will act as Hellas-Sat’s provisional satellite until its own satellite has been launched, which is due to happen this summer onboard an Ariane rocket. The footprint of Hellas-Sat 1, which is the first satellite for both Greece and Cyprus, will cover Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, reaching a population of about 400 million people.

      The first channels and services are expected to launch in September. The Cyprus-based Hellas-Sat Consortium, which will operate the satellite, plans to launch a second bird by 2004, in time for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, which are expected to create a strong demand for satellite feeds from broadcasters. The satellite will mainly be used for direct-to-home television service, VSATs, Internet connections and telephone traffic. The Hellas-Sat Consortium is backed by Cypriotic Avacom Net (43.4 percent), Greek telecommunications company OTE (25 percent), Cypriotic Development Bank (19.6 percent), Hellenic Aerospace Industry (10 percent) and Telesat Canada (2 percent).

      –Jorn Krieger

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