Africa's first ever satellite communications station was opened by President Jomo Kenyatta at Mt Margeret in Kenya yesterday (12 Nov).
GV Satellite station & dish
SV Kenyatta arrives & greeted
SV Kenyatta (SOF)
GV Official party, ZOOM TO tower
SV INT. Station, control console
SV Kenyatta touring station
SCU Kenyatta & dancers
SV Kenyatta leaves dancers to tent
TRANSCRIPT: KENYATTA: "The Mt Margeret satellite station. In fact it is not on a mountain and Mt Margeret is not an indigenous name. I have therefore decided to change the title and in future this will be known as Elongana satellite station.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Africa's first ever satellite communications station was opened by President Jomo Kenyatta at Mt Margeret in Kenya yesterday (12 Nov).
After the opening ceremony the Kenyan President and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant exchanged greetings using the satellite system. President Kenyatta told the United Nations leader in New York "I hope some East African Ambassadors are hearing what we are saying through this magic."
The conversation relayed over loudspeakers, was heard by thousands of people attending the opening ceremony.
The space communications system is situated in the Rift Valley north west of Nairobi, and enables East Africa to communicate direct with places as far apart as Britain and Australia via the Indian Ocean satellite, Intelsat.
Constructed by the electronics firm Marconi, the station, which cost 1.7 million sterling (about 4 million dollars), we eventually handle up to 528 voice channels. Initially, the station is equipped to handle 132 conversations at one time.
The antenna of the station is 97-feet (29.6 metres) in diameter and is pivoted to enable it to follow the position of the satellite in the sky. The antenna structure weighs nearly 300 tons.
The instrument room of the station is fully equipped with air-conditioning and automatic doors. The three East African Governments of Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda hold 60 percent of the shares in the station. A british company holds the remainder of the shares. Eventually it is hoped the station will be equipped to handle television.
President Kenyatta said: