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02-018
For Release: March 20, 2002

Pamelia Caswell
Media Relations Office
216/433-2901


NASA's Winning Satellite Wins Again

NASA's still high-flying Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) has brought home another award. The Society of Satellite Professionals International selected NASA to receive a 2002 Industry Innovators Award for Technology Development and Applications at a March 6 ceremony in Washington, D.C.

The society cited NASA for proving the viability of a number of first-time satellite communications technologies using ACTS. The award was accepted as a NASA-industry partnership with Glenn Research Center's Acting Deputy Director Gerald Barna accepting the award for NASA, and Frank Gargione, retired, accepting on behalf of Lockheed Martin, the satellite builder and prime contractor for its operation. ACTS project manager Robert Bauer and Space Communications Office Chief Pete Vrotsos, both from Glenn, accompanied Barna.

"It was really an honor and quite unexpected for the society to recognize the ACTS Program. NASA is pleased that the program had such a positive impact that, even years after the main thrust of the program, it continues to be recognized by the satellite industry for its contributions," Barna said.

ACTS, launched in 1993 as an experimental platform, is the first high-speed, all-digital communications satellite. It is the first to have sophisticated telephone-system-type switching. The satellite can carry data at fiber-optic data rates with the same transmission quality, performance and cost efficiency that that land-based networks provide. It operates in the uncrowded Ka-band (18 to 30 gigahertz) portion of the radio spectrum.

Communications engineers and scientists at NASA Glenn, who conceived and designed ACTS, used it as a testbed for their Ka-band satellite communications technologies for over 6 years. Today, ACTS is an educational tool and testbed run by the Ohio Consortium for Advanced Communications Technology.

Previous awards to ACTS include its induction into the Space Technology Hall of Fame and a 1995 R&D 100 Award by Research and Development Magazine.

The Society of Satellite Professionals is a nonprofit member-benefit society that promotes professional development and stimulates the growth of the industry, in part, through its Industry Innovators awards.

For more information about ACTS, see http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/PAO/PAIS/fs13grc.pdf

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