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    NEXT GENERATION RUSSIAN COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE STARTS OPERATING

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    MOSCOW/KRASNOYARSK, March 12, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russia began using its new broadcasting and communications satellite, the Express-AM22, which was successfully launched on December 29, 2003, a spokesman for Space Communication, a state enterprise, told RIA Novosti on Friday.

    Presently, the Express-AM22 is in a geostationary orbit at 53 degrees eastern Longitude. The satellite provides communication and television broadcasting services to Russian citizens from the Baltic Sea to the Urals as well as to countries in the CIS, Europe, the Middle East and North America.

    The Express-AM22 is the first of the five Express-AM series satellites that were funded (the production and launch) by that the Russian Federal Space Program to 2005. "With these satellites Russia will be able to change to new standard of television broadcasting, data transmission in a digital format and Internet access," the head of the project, Yevgeny Korchagin, told RIA Novosti in Krasnoyarsk.

    The Reshetov Scientific and Industrial Association of Applied Mechanics and Alcatel Space, a French company jointly developed the satellite. It is fitted with 24 repeaters and has a guaranteed service life in orbit of 12 years. The contour aerials of the Express-AM22 ensures an optimal distribution of the signal over the entire surface area and the possibility of using the 0.6 meter satellite terminals.

    The new satellite is designed for digital television and radio broadcasting, telephone communications and a broadband Internet access.

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