[FPSPACE] garbled report on South Africa
kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za
Tue Mar 1 11:00:09 EST 2005
Spaceflight March issue p.93
"South Africa's first dedicated national communications satellite,
RASCOM 1, will be launched in March 2006, by either a European Ariane 5
or a Chinese Long March booster. RASCOM 1 will be built by Alcatel
Acronym: RASCOM - Regional African Satellite Communications
Something is garbed about this report.
First, if this is a South African satellite, whatever it might be
termed, it cannot be called RASCOM 1 unless it is a continental
satellite paid by all partners. A French satellite is not called ESA 1.
Second, I am told that RASCOM has been moribund due to turf wars
for some years, & is not yet active & functioing.
Third, I am told that while Alcatel indeed sent a team to South
Africa, they arrived in the country with bad timing when all the top
decision-makers were attending various space conferences in Europe.
Certainly, members of our National Working Group on Space Science &
Technology are unaware of this announcement.
Does this just reflect communication gaps, and lack of
coordination, on the South African side? Does anyone know if a definite
order has been placed for a South African comsat? Or is this kite-flying
by over-optimistic Alcatel salesmen? All information welcome.
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