May 172014

Astra 2G – the third new UK TV satellite – launch may be delayed.

Although no launch date has been set, apart from “Q2 2014”, this may be delayed.

A Russian Proton-M rocket, which is used to launch satellites, crashed on Friday, about nine minutes after lift-off.

The crash was likely caused by a failure in one of the third stage’s steering engines, reported Oleg Ostapenko, the head of the Russian national space agency Roscosmos.

“The exact cause is hard to establish immediately, we will be studying the telemetry. Preliminary information points to an emergency pressure drop in a steering engine of the third stage of the rocket,” he said.

Fragments of the rocket and its cargo have apparently burned in the atmosphere, he added, which means they could not cause any damage on the ground.

The launch went abnormal on the 540th second of the flight, when an emergency engines shutdown kicked in in response to the rocket deviating from its intended trajectory, the Russian Federal Space Agency reported after the crash. The third stage, which is called Briz-M, was approximately 150km above the ground at that moment and had some 40 seconds to go before deploying its payload into the orbit.

It was the second failure for Russia’s workhorse Proton-M rocket in less than a year, and the second time that it had failed to deliver a European satellite intended to provide advanced telecoms and Internet access to remote parts of Russia, after the last one crashed shortly after launch in 2011. The rocket now has a 7% failure rate.

Astra 2Es launch on 2013 was delayed several months after another Proton rocket failure.

Astra 2G launch news and updates:

Jul 212013

Sony says it is experiencing “a major technical issue” after many owners of its DVD recorders lost access to their Freeview TV channels.

Dozens of owners have written to the BBC to complain that a malfunctioning software update on Friday has caused their devices to stop receiving or recording Freeview.

Many complained about a lack of response from Sony customer support.

Sony said it was doing everything possible to solve the problem.

“A major technical issue has been flagged to our dedicated team. We will update you asap,” the Japanese firm tweeted back on Saturday in response to dozens of messages about the problem.

The company’s own support forums as well as other independent online sites were filled with complaints from irate users over the weekend.

Sony HXD recorders, such as the RDR-HXD870 model, which were updated Friday with the firmware 1.70 fix, seem to be affected by the issue.

“It may already have come to your attention that thousands of owners of Sony DVD units have completely lost all their access to Freeview channels,” Geoff Cheers, from Chorley, wrote to the BBC.

Graham Johnson, from Oxford, wrote: “There are thousands of people affected by this, many of whom, like me, have wasted hours today trying to retune and repair their machine. Many folks, it seems, have also been out and bought a new one.

“Sony’s Twitter feed and own technical support website are in meltdown with angry customers, and Sony themselves are conspicuous by their absence.”

On Sunday, a spokeswoman for Sony UK told the BBC: “We are aware of the issue and our engineers are doing everything to solve it.”