Welcome to the July edition of the Satellite Television and Radio pages. In the last few weeks Apstar VI has commenced operation bringing a whole new range of Chinese provincial television. This month we take a look at one of the new Chinese regions to reach our dishes, Xinjiang Radio & Television. In just a few weeks NASA's Space Shuttle returns to service following the loss of Columbia in 2003. Full coverage of the mission including spacecraft vision and audio is available for the duration of the mission; we tell you how to tune in this month.
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Xinjiang - It's a long way to the beach from Urumqi
In the early hours of Wednesday June 15, Apstar VI, the latest hotbird for the Asia-Pacific jumped to life. The new satellite is being received with extremely strong signals in Australia from 134.0 degrees east. Apstar VI brings to Australia and New Zealand a wide selection of mainland Chinese media including radio and television from a number of provinces that have unavailable to dishes in South Eastern Australia in the past. This month we profile Xinjiang Television.
Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, is proud of its claim to be the furthest city in the world from an ocean. The drive to the beach is no less than 2250 km! Urumqi is the gateway to the largest province in China, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a massive geopolitically strategic area four times the size of Japan. The region may be considered very remote by us in Australia, but in the past the region was a major transit point on the Silk Road, with a series of fabled oasis's that welcomed traders traveling between Europe and East Asia. The province is home to some of China's most spectacular scenery offering vast deserts and arid plains which are contrasted by large regions of thick forest in the north.
Television took some time to reach remote Xinjiang. It wasn't until the 1970's that the first television service for the province was established. Initially programming was restricted to relays of China Central Television programs, it was in the late 1980's that local provincial level programming commenced. Throughout the 80's and the majority of the 1990's Xinjiang television divided the signal channel into programming blocks presented in the three major languages spoken in the region, Chinese, Uygur and Khazak.
On August 28th, 1997, the digital satellite television revolution reached Urumqi. Utilising the now retired Apstar 1A satellite, Xinjiang Television established dedicated Uygur, Chinese, and Khazak language channels.
Xinjiang broadcasts three free-to-air satellite television channels on Apstar VI.
The Chinese language channel presents programming for the regions Han Chinese population who form a majority in the northern area of Xinjiang. The Han Chinese are often viewed as invaders and the relationship between the Han and the Uyghurs (the traditional people of the region) has been strained for many decades. The XJTV-1 channel demonstrates its links to Beijing by displaying all on screen times in the Beijing time zone that officially covers the whole of China. Xinjiang located to the north of India and Pakistan would more naturally fall several time zones to the West of Beijing. XJTV-2 and XJTV-3 both display times in unofficial "Xinjiang Time" which is two hours behind Beijing.
Programming highlights on XJTV-1 include the Xinjiang local news at 11 PM and 10 AM Australian Eastern Standard (Sydney) Time. The daily Xinjiang air quality report is presented at 25 minutes past midnight Australian Eastern Standard Time. Daytime programming is predominately Chinese serials and dramas. On Friday nights (Midnight Saturday morning Sydney time) Xinjiang Story a program featuring regional documentaries can be seen.
The Uygur language channel presents programming for Xinjiang's largest non Han population. When the province was designated an autonomous region in 1955 the Uygur accounted for 90% of the population. This dominant percentage has been reduced in recent times as Han Chinese have migrated into the province. The Muslim Uyghurs are a Central Asian race who are predominantly settled in the southern fertile oases on the ancient Silk Road.
Programming highlights on XJTV-2 include the exotic advertisements for Uyghur food and sweets. The local news in Uygur can be seen daily at 10 AM and 11 PM Australian Eastern Standard Time. Daytime programming is predominately serials and dramas.
UJTV-2 broadcasts for around 18 hours each day. The channel opens for its daily broadcast at 9:58 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time.
The Khazak language channel presents programming for Xinjiang's Khazak population. The Kazakhs are Muslim nomadic pastoralists concentrated in the north of the province. The land of the Khazak's is largely unspoilt with thick evergreen forests and fast running rivers.
The local news in Khazak can be seen daily at 10:45 AM and 11 PM Australian Eastern Standard Time. Daytime programming is predominately serials and dramas.
UJTV-3 broadcasts for around 18 hours each day. The channel opens for its daily broadcast at 9:58 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time.
English News from Xinjiang
Since 2004, Xinjiang Television has presented daily regional news in English on the Uygur, Chinese, and Khazak television channels.
XJTV English News initially directed to visitors to Xinjiang, has found that the twice daily ten minute bulletins have become popular with the local youth who are eager to embrace English as a second or third language. For us in Australia and New Zealand the programs offer a fascinating insight into Xinjiang's Uygur, Khazak and Chinese culture with extensive coverage of current events, festivals and daily activities.
XJTV-1 the Chinese Language Channel presents the regional news in English twice daily at around 7 AM Beijing time (9 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time) and around half past midnight Beijing time (2:30 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time).
XJTV-2 the Uygur Language Channel presents the regional news in English twice daily at around 7:05 AM Xinjiang time (11:05 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time) and around 10:30 PM Xinjiang time (2:30 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time).
XJTV-3 the Khazak Language Channel presents the regional news in English twice daily at around 6 AM Xinjiang time (10 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time) and around 9:55 PM Xinjiang time (1:55 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time)
Xinjiang Tuning Details
XJTV Channels 1, 2 & 3
Satellite : Apstar VI
Orbit Location : 134 East
Frequency : 4120
Polarity : Horizontal
Symbol Rate : 27500
NASA TV - Join the Space Shuttle mission
The grounding of NASA's Space Shuttle fleet following the Columbia accident in 2003 is about to be lifted. Hundreds of modifications have been made to both the Shuttle and mission procedures in the last two years to enhance the safety of future missions. NASA will return Space Shuttles to flight with the coming mission of the Shuttle Discovery.
The crew of seven astronauts, including Australian Andy Thomas, will be kept occupied with a demanding schedule, including testing new safety techniques and delivering much needed supplies to the International Space Station. Discovery's launch is targeted for July 13 with a launch window that extends to July 31st. For exact launch date and time check frequently at www.nasa.gov during early July.
Free-to-air satellite television offers a detailed insight into spaceflight activities including the shuttle missions via NASA Television. NASA TV is an educational media outlet that provides NASA related programming 24 hours per day. During Space Shuttle missions, NASA TV is compelling viewing. For the weeks before the launch the channel broadcasts daily updates, briefings and press conferences of pre-launch activities. However the real action begins the day of the Shuttle blast-off.
Around six hours before the launch the continuous mission coverage commences which extends right through until the mission ends some hours after the Shuttle landing. Viewers are treated to spectacular live video and audio of the controllers and astronauts which when combined with the downloadable resources at www.nasa.gov offers a front row seat to all stages of the space flight.
A schedule of major events in the mission timeline is available from the NASA website. Downloading the mission press-kit will enable you to plan your viewing to ensure you don't miss highlights such as launch, space station docking and landing.
NASA TV is available from Intelsat 701 located in orbit above the international date line at 180 degrees east. In addition to the continuous coverage from NASA TV the launch and major mission event coverage is also usually carried live on the APTV Direct live event video feed channel on Asiasat 2.
NASA TV Tuning Details
Satellite : Intelsat 701
Orbit Location : 180.0 East
Frequency : 3854
Polarity : Right Hand Circular
Symbol Rate : 2000
Satellite : Asiasat 2
Orbit Location : 100.5 East
Frequency : 3706
Polarity : Horizontal
Symbol Rate : 4167
Optus B1 is still operating on its standby processor following a serious in-orbit failure (see last months ADXN satellite pages). There are strong rumors that Optus will be co-positioning another satellite alongside Optus B1 to avoid disruption to services if Optus B1 was to fail completely. In the next few weeks the plans Optus have in mind will become clearer, in the meantime happy viewing!