Final launch preparations are underway at Cape Canaveral, Florida, for the launch of Telenor's newest broadcasting satellite THOR III. The first possible window for the launch opens at 18:30 local Eastern Standard Time on 9 June (00:30 Wednesday, 10 June, in Norway and most of continental Europe).
Satellite television viewers across Europe will be able to watch the launch as Telenor is planning either a live feed or a possible studio program to be broadcast in cooperation with a Norwegian channel. Details will be available later in May.
Manufactured by Hughes Space and Communications of California, THOR III took just under a year to assemble. Hughes also built THOR II, which was launched from Florida last May. Like its predecessor, THOR III will be placed into orbit 36,000 km above the Equator onboard a Delta II launch vehicle from Boeing. The total cost of the THOR III project is close to NOK 1 billion.
Telenor will take over the control of the new satellite from Hughes in late July. THOR III is the first satellite in their fleet which Telenor will operate from their own newly-installed control center in Oslo. THOR I and II will, for the moment, remain under the operational control of the Chilworth operations center in England.
According to Odd Gutteberg, the head of Telenor Satellite’s space segment, the technical evaluation for a possible THOR IV has already been completed. The project’s commercial potential is currently under study.
New channels & frequency changes at 1° West
“Once operational this August, Telenor’s new Nordic broadcasting satellite THOR III will greatly expand the range of TV services available to DTH (direct-to-home) households, cable and SMATV operators in the Nordic and Central European regions. However, the expansion will mean that the frequency and/or polarisation of some existing services will be changed from 1 August,” says Morten Solbakken in Telenor Satellite’s broadcasting division.
“The changes will affect the frequency and/or polarisation of the channels DR2, Sky Entertainment, Sky News, TV3+ Danmark, TV1000 Cinema and TV Butikken,” says Solbakken. “There will be an overlapping period of at least one month when each channel will be broadcast on both the new and old frequencies.”
Cable viewers will not notice the changes, he says, as frequency and position adjustments are made by their cable operator. Viewers with their own satellite dish, however, will need to adjust their reception of certain channels using the on-screen menu in their viewing system.
Solbakken says an overview of the frequency changes has already been sent to all major satellite television service providers and equipment retailers in the 1° West coverage area for further distribution to their viewers. Cable operators in the region have also been informed. In addition, the information will be available by 1 June on the Internet in English at http://international.telenor.no under “Satellite Communications – 1° West” and in Norwegian at http:// www.telenor.no/thor/
“Viewers should direct their questions about how to adjust a particular satellite dish to their satellite service provider rather than to Telenor Satellite,” says Solbakken. “We are in much the same situation as a mobile phone service provider. We provide a signal, but the signal can be received on many different types of equipment. We will, however, try to provide a guide to adjusting the most common types of dishes on our Internet web sites later this summer.”
“More details on the new services to be broadcast from 1°West will be made available as agreements are finalized later in the summer,” Solbakken says.