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Shuttle engine tested
One of the three liquid-fueled main engines that will power Discovery into orbit during the space shuttle return-to-flight mission is test-fired at Stennis Space Center. (2min 57sec file)
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Delta 4-Heavy preview
Preview what a Boeing Delta 4 rocket launch will be like with this animation package of a "Heavy" configuration vehicle. (1min 41sec file)
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Rover's stuck RAT
A problem with the Opportunity rover's Rock Abrasion Tool is explained in detailed by JPL mission manager Chris Salvo. (4min 14sec file)
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New water clues
Spirit's examination of rock outcropping at Gusev Crater has yielded new clues about the history of water there, as explained by Doug Ming, a rover science team member from Johnson Space Center. (5min 59sec file)
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Spirit on a hill
A stunning new picture from the Mars rover Spirit taken from the hillside shows the sweeping plains of Gusev and the crater's rim on the distant horizon. Expert narration is provided by Steve Squyres, the rover lead scientist. (1min 22sec file)
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Update on Opportunity
Steve Squyres, the rover lead scientist, descibes Opportunity's ongoing work inside Endurance Crater and narrates new pictures that includes clouds moving across the Martian sky. (5min 50sec file)
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Latest Mars briefing
Scientists and mission officials explain the latest findings and exploration by the Spirit and Opportunity rovers during this news conference on August 18. (49min 40sec file)
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Ship docks to station
The Russian Progress 15P resupply ship makes a fully automated rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station. An external camera on the craft provides this view of the final approach to the aft port of the Zvezda service module. (3min 49sec file)
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Telstar 18 enters full commercial service over Asia
Posted: August 23, 2004

Loral Space & Communications today announced that Telstar 18, a powerful and flexible satellite designed to provide communication services across Asia, has completed its in-orbit testing and is now fully operational.

"With Telstar 18 joining Telstar 10 over Asia, Loral now operates two of the most powerful and strategically placed satellites in that region," said Patrick Brant, president, Loral Skynet. "Telstar 18 covers a large area that stretches from Central Asia, through the Indian sub-continent, China, Korea, Japan, South East Asia, Australia and Hawaii. It offers our customers a strong footprint for intra-regional applications, as well as the ability to directly connect with the US."

An artist's concept of Telstar 18. Credit: Loral
Built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) and operated by Loral Skynet, Telstar 18 was launched June 28, 2004 aboard a Sea Launch Zenit-3SL rocket. During the launch, the rocket's upper stage shut down early and placed the satellite in a lower than expected orbit. Engineers from SS/L, however, were able to raise the satellite to its proper orbital position at 138 degrees East longitude. The satellite still has sufficient on-board fuel to exceed its specified 13-year life.

Telstar 18's users include well-known regional video and data providers, such as Smart Digital Communications Bhd, of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and PSVN, Inc., which is based at the Hawaii Pacific Teleport. Loral's other satellite over Asia, Telstar 10/APSTAR-IIR, hosts one of the largest video communities in Asia at 76.5 degrees East longitude.

In addition to transmitting innovative new applications, cable programming and direct-to-home broadcasting services, Telstar 18 is scheduled to begin hosting Skynet's SkyReach(SM) two-way IP-based networking solution in 2005. SkyReach is already available and in use by customers throughout the Americas, allowing organizations to create an instant infrastructure using a VSAT network, connecting offices between cities or around the globe.

Telstar 18 carries a total of 54 active transponders, of which sixteen are high-power Ku-band transponders and thirty-eight are C-band transponders. In consideration for funding a portion of the satellite project's cost, APT Satellite Company Limited, Hong Kong, will initially use 68.5 percent of Telstar 18's transponder capacity for APSTAR-V services. The number of transponders used by APT will be reduced over time, ultimately to 54 percent of the satellite's capacity.

Telstar 18 is a version of SS/L's space-proven 1300 satellite platform, which has an excellent record of reliable operation. The geostationary 1300 has a specified service life of 13 years and maintains station-keeping and orbital stability by using bipropellant propulsion and momentum-bias systems. In all, SS/L satellites have amassed more than 1,100 years of on-orbit service.

A pioneer in the satellite industry, Loral Skynet continues to deliver the superior service quality and range of satellite solutions that have made it an industry leader for more than 40 years. Through the broad coverage of the Telstar satellite fleet in combination with its hybrid VSAT/fiber global network infrastructure, Skynet is a source for all broadcast, data network, Internet access, IP and systems integration needs. Headquartered in Bedminster, New Jersey, Loral Skynet is dedicated to providing secure, high-quality connectivity and communications.

Space Systems/Loral is a premier designer, manufacturer, and integrator of powerful satellites and satellite systems. SS/L also provides a range of related services that include mission control operations and procurement of launch services. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., the company has an international base of commercial and government customers whose applications include broadband digital communications, direct-to-home broadcast, defense communications, environmental monitoring, and air traffic control. SS/L is ISO 9001:2000 certified.