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Issues are dated each Monday, although recently I've needed an extra day or two to complete each issue. Articles may be posted earlier if time permits or if there is a major, breaking story.

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June 19, 2000 - Issue 219 Final Edition

FCC Announces New Electronic Document Management System (June 19)
In a Public Notice (pnmc0009) released today the FCC said that its new Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS) is now available for use by the public. EDOCS replaces the FCC Web site's Digital Index. It is designed to allow FCC and the public to obtain documents from the FCC web site, provide interactive online research and "create indexes to be placed on the web to provide access for documents for customers who do not wish to use the interactive query>"

EDOCS is available via the search link on the FCC home page and on the Search Tools page. Information about documents can be displayed in three formats: full record, condensed record, and Citator. At this time, EDOCS contains electronic copies of documents from March 1996 (a few earlier documents are also available) and citations to documents as far back as 1982. Using the Document Indexes it is possible to browse listings by date or by FCC bureau and office.

The FCC warned that since this is a new system, "there may be some disruptions during the initial period of operation." It requested anyone experiencing problems to report them to EDOCS Help by email to edocs@fcc.gov or by phone to (202) 418-0265.

SCIENCE - More Accurate Solar Storm Warnings Now Possible (June 19)
Solar storms pose a threat to satellites, communications and electric power distribution systems. They can also create colorful auroral displays. As dependence on satellite communications and power grid systems has increased, so has the need for accurate prediction of when these storms, actually billion-ton electrified-gas clouds called Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), will hit the Earth's magnetic field.

Scientists at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD have developed a model that predicts how long it will take the CMEs to travel between the Sun and Earth based on their initial speed and interaction with the solar wind. The model uses recent observations from the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and the NASA WIND spacecraft.

Dr. Natchimuthuk Gopalswamy, a Senior Research Associate at the National Academy of Sciences, explained, "The new model more accurately predicts the arrival of Coronal Mass Ejections, and will greatly benefit people who operate systems affected by space storms. The improved forecasts let operators of sensitive systems take protective action at the proper time and minimize the unproductive time when systems are placed in a safe mode to weather the storm."

This information was obtained from a NASA Press Release - More Accurate Space Storm Warnings Now Possible. Additional information and images are available at http://www.lmsal.com/spd/Press/gopals/. The link includes information on tests of the model during the June 6, 2000 CME.

FCC - Satellite Applications Accepted for Filing (June 16)
Echostar Satellite Corporation filed an application to modify its DBS Authorizations to launch and operate its EchoStar 6 satellite at 119.05 degrees West Longitude instead of its authorized location at 110 degrees W.L. EchoStar 5 would continue operating at 110 degrees W.L. EchoStar also seeks to move EchoStar 1 to 148 degrees W.L. and to move and operate EchoStar 4 at 118.9 W.L. and EchoStar 2 at 119.35 degrees W.L. EchoStar said these minor redeployments are required by an agreement with DirecTV, which is licensed to operate at 119 degrees W.L.

This information is from the FCC International Bureau Satellite Policy Branch Report SAT-00048.

SPECTRUM - Astronomers Win Protection for Millimeter Bands at WRC2000 (June 15)
A National Science Foundation News Release reported that delegates at the World Radiocommunications Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, have given final approval to dedicated spectrum in frequencies between 71 and 275 GHz. The millimeter-wave allocations protect for sicence all frequencies in this range currently used by radio astronomers. More than 90 GHz was added to the existing 44 GHz of spectrum currently allocated for science at these wavelengths. The frequencies allocated cover most of the millimeter wavelength spectrum that is able to pass through the earth's atmosphere. Frequencies allocated to satellite downlinks in the band were changed to frequencies not used for science.

Al Wootten, ALMA project scientist at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, explained, "There is more energy at millimeter and sub-millimeter wavelengths washing through the universe than there is of light or any other kind of radiation. Imaging the sources of this energy can tell us a great deal about the formation of stars and galaxies, and even planets." John Whiteoak, Australian delegate to WRC-2000 from the Australian Telescope National Facility, said, "It's a win for millimeter-wave science. This secures its future." Johnannes Andersen, General Secretary of the International Astronomical Union, welcomed the changes, commenting, "Protecting our ability to observe the universe is the top priority for the International Astronomical Union. This action shows that international bodies accept the need for environmental emission standards in space as well as on Earth, for the benefit of all."

These allocations will not displace current satellite operations. Klaus Ruf, chairman of the Inter-Union Commission for the Allocation of Frequencies, explained, "Commercial technologies are not fully developed above 50 GHz. The WRC's actions mean that, when they are, radio astronomers should be able to share this part of the spectrum with most terrestrial services."

OTHER Items of Interest

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