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Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT)

The Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT), based in Tokyo’s Shibuya ward, is a private-sector firm that was established in 1993 for the purpose of procuring and operating the BSAT-1 satellite for the analogue satellite broadcasts provided by NHK and WOWOW. The firm subsequently launched the BSAT-1a and BSAT-1b satellites in 1997 and 1998, each of which offers 4 channels and has a service life of 10 years.

BSAT 1A was a geosynchronous communications satellite launched from the Kourou Space Station aboard an Ariane 44LP rocket 1997-04-16. This Hughes satellite was created for the Broadcasting Satellite System Corp of Japan and was positioned at 110 deg E. It provided direct broadcast analog TV to over 12 million customers throughout Japan. It was three-axis stabilized and generated 2 kW of electrical power. It was equipped with eight Ku-band transponders.

BSAT 1B was a geosynchronous communications satellite launched from the Kourou Space Station aboard an Ariane 44LP rocket 1998-04-28. This Hughes satellite was created for the Broadcasting Satellite System Corp of Japan and was positioned at 109.9 deg E. It provided four-channel viewing capabilities to homes with small, low-cost receiver dishes. Services available included NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corp), WOWOW (Japan Satellite Broadcasting Inc) and others. Like BSAT-1A, it carried four active and four spare high-power transponders in Ku-band, using 106-watt traveling wave tube amplifiers. Built as a back-up to BSAT-1A, its contracted life is 10 years.

B-SAT was given the task of procuring and operating the BSAT-2a and BSAT-2c satellites with the commencement of digital satellite broadcasts in 2000. Each of these satellites offers 4 channels and has a service life of 10 years; BSAT-2c was designed to replace BSAT-2b.

BSAT 2A is a Japanese geosynchronous communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at 22:51 UT 2001-03-08. The 1.3 ton (with fuel) satellite will be parked over 110 deg-E longitude to provide direct-to-home voice, video and internet communications.

BSAT 2B was intended to be a Japanese geosynchronous communications spacecraft. It was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at 23:58 UT on 12 July 2001. A propulsion problem in the final stage of rocket caused the 1.3 tonne satellite to orbit at a much lower altitude. Since BSAT 2B carried only one engine, an ignition of that was inadequate to lift the orbit significantly. BSAT 2C is a Japanese geostationary communications spacecraft that was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou at 22:38 UT on 11 June 2003. It will provide direct digital broadcasts to homes in Japan and neighboring countries through its Ku-band transponders.

BSAT-3a could offer 8 channels and have a service life of at least 13 years, with enough fuel for at least 16 years of service. The analogue satellite broadcasts for domestic audiences on BSAT-1a (the NHK BS-1 and BS-2 services on channels 7 and 11, and WOWOW on channel 5) were switched over to BSAT-3a on 1 November 2007. The analogue HDTV service on channel 9 (NHK Hi-Vision) ceased at 11.30 p.m. on 31 October. “Star Channel”, a program-supplying BS broadcaster commenced a digital satellite service, for domestic audiences, on channel 9 on 26 November, followed by “Nippon BS Broadcasting Corporation”, and “World Hi-Vision Channel “ on 1 December.

BSAT 3A is a Japanese geostationary communications satellite that was launched by an Ariane 5-ECA rocket from Kourou at 23:44 UT on 14 August 2007. The 1.98 tonne (with fuel) craft carries twelve 130 W Ku-band transponders to provide direct-to-home high-definition television programs to the entire nation, after parking over 110 degrees E longitude. It joins a fleet of four other BSAT Corporation satellites.

BSAT 3B is a communications satellite launched from Kourou on 28 October 2010 at 21:51 UT by an Ariane 5 rocket. The craft weighed 2060 kg and will be located at 110 degrees E longitude. It carries 12 130 W Ku-band channels, eight operating simultaneously, enabling it to play a vital role in providing satellite broadcasting services. It has an expected design life of 15 years.

BSAT 3C, a Japanese satellite, was launched on 06 August 2011 from Kourou at 22:52 UT by an Ariane 5 rocket. The satellite, also known as BSAT 3C/JCSAT 110R, weighed 2.91 tonnes and is designed for a 15-year tandem mission for two Japanese communications firms. The spacecraft will be used for television broadcasting. Additional capacity will be managed by SKY Perfect JSAT for other telecommunications services, including direct digital television programming. BSAT 3C is heading for an operational position in geosynchronous orbit along the equator at 110 degrees E longitude. It carries 24 Ku-band transponders split between its two operators.

MIC’s “Study Group on Future Images of satellite Broadcasting” compiled its findings as a report on 19 October 2006. The report put forward a number of proposals regarding the additional frequencies that would become available for digital satellite broadcasts. The proposals included, first, the inviting of submissions for the use of these frequencies, not only for the three frequencies that would become available with the termination of analogue satellite broadcasts, but also for the four new frequencies that were internationally allocated to Japan at ITU WRC-2000.



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