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Coming soon to a NASA Center near You—Introducing the CSO Emergency Communications Vehicles

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Coming soon to a NASA Center near You—Introducing the CSO Emergency Communications Vehicles

Coming soon to a NASA Center near You—Introducing the CSO Emergency Communications Vehicles

By Don Ross / NICS Security Office
In a manmade or natural emergency – when your Center loses WAN / Internet connectivity – one of these remarkable vehicles arrives to save the day and get you back on the network. That could make a big difference – and keep your critical mission operations – out of the ditch.

Staffed by volunteers from the NASA Integrated Communications Services (NICS) contract, the CSO Emergency Communications Vehicles (ECV) are self-sufficient, rugged communication centers that travel on wheels – or through the air. ECVs can roll out on short notice to deliver vital communications links in difficult situations.
Added to the NICS contract in April 2013, the ECVs were repurposed to support network recovery operations and emergency management functions.

Government Shutdown or Not – ECVs Were Ready to Support

Early in the 2013 Government Shutdown, Tropical Storm Karen was expected to come ashore as a hurricane – in a manner eerily similar to Katrina in 2005.

Because of the potential threat to WAN connectivity for MAF, NSSC, and SSC – the CSO was asked to prepare its ECVs to deploy. The Deployment Team moved quickly. They were ready to deploy less than 36 hours after receiving that request.

What’s Under the Hood?

ECVs provide mobile contingency data, voice, video, and radio communication services to first responders / emergency preparedness staff. They support critical installation operations in the aftermath of a major disruption in telecommunications services.

The ECVs are two distinct vehicles – with nearly identical telecommunications capabilities. They provide connectivity to the outside world, especially when routine commercial carriers are offline. Supported radio communications include VHF, UHF, HF, 700/800 MHz, and Amateur band with video monitoring and capture for DVD and VHS; and emergency warning local-area broadcast.

  • The “Light” ECV is suited for early deployment as a first response capability. It can be airlifted into a disaster area if the vehicle cannot access the site directly.
  • The “Heavy” ECV vehicle is larger and capable of extended deployments that require more equipment, personnel and workspace.

The CSO is the decision authority on ECV deployments. In coordination with the CSO, NICS maintains the vehicles in a continuous state of readiness for rapid deployment.

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For Additional Information Contact:
Don Ross / don.ross@nasa.gov
256.544.2590

Page Last Updated: December 11th, 2013
Page Editor: Michael Porterfield