Washington Post satellite article

From: Kevin Mangis (kmangis00@yahoo.com)
Date: Fri Mar 21 2003 - 17:35:20 EST

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    The Washington Post has an interesting article entitled "Pentagon
    Scrambles for Satellites" here:
    I was interested in the following quote from this article:
      "The shortage of capacity over Iraq is in part a result of the
       country's historic refusal to allow companies to put satellites
       in stationary orbit over the country, according the London
       Satellite Exchange's Chabert [Nathanael G. Chabert, chief
       technical officer of the London Satellite Exchange]. The
       communications satellites now serving Iraq are, in effect,
       relaying signals to the region from other orbits."
    Since Iraq is not on the equator, obviously there can't be any
    geosynchronous satellites directly overhead.  But the article certainly
    implies that a satellite could be put in a stationary orbit over Iraq. 
    Am I missing something?  Could the article referring to geosynchronous
    slots that have been allocated to Iraq although they are not directly
    over Iraq?  I also don't understand the comment about relaying signals
    from other orbits, since a signal can go directly between a
    geosynchronous satellite and Iraq.
    The article goes on to say:
      "But not all satellites are affected by the international
       restrictions. Unlike geostationary communication satellites,
       which hover 22,500 miles in space as they spin in sync with
       the earth, low-orbit satellites are permitted under international
       law to spin around the globe at over 17,000 mph."
    Are there international restrictions such that countries on the equator
    have the rights to all geosynchronous slots overhead?  I always thought
    that geosynchronous slots were assigned by international treaty -- what
    "international restrictions" does the article refer to?
    Thanks in advance for your insights.
    - Kevin
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