The European Space Agency has announced that it's ready to launch its first communications satellite in the second week of September from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
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Background: The European Space Agency has announced that it's ready to launch its first communications satellite in the second week of September from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The launch was originally scheduled to take place in June but was delayed when the first stage of the satellite's American rocket was damaged before the mounting of the satellite.
SYNOPSIS: Industry from ten European countries cooperated int he making of the satellite....known as the Orbital Test Satellite or OTS. As its name suggests, OTS is largely experimental in purpose and is the forerunner to a complex European communications system to be completed by 1990. OTS is designed to work for at least three years and will carry out experiments on the transmission of radio waves through the atmosphere.
It will provide, in the meantime, an adequate pre-operational European traffic capacity. Coverage will not be confined to just Western Europe. The Middle East, North africa, the Azores, Canary Island, Madeira and Iceland will also be included. Its capacity will be equivalent to 6,000 separate telephone circuits. The six-sided satellite will be powered in orbit by two large solar panels. Although the launch will take place in September, comprehensive testing will not begin until the first quarter of 1978.
Once completed, the European Communications satellite network is expected to handle more than 20,000 telephone circuits, and provide a voice and data link to North Sea oil platforms.