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Press Release 94-60
Mary Ann Peto

NASA Lewis Research Center Celebrates One Year Plus for Advanced Communications Satellite (ACTS)

Cleveland, OH -- Since the Lewis managed Advanced Communications Technology Satellite was launched on September 12, 1993, users have logged over 10,000 hours of communications time performing field trials that demonstrate key technologies of great importance to the future of satellite communications.

Over the past year, more than 50 organizations have used ACTS technologies such as the high-powered antenna spot beams that enable communications with small, low-cost earth stations to perform their field trails. The wide-band 30/20 GHz (Ka-Band) on-board transponders have opened up a new portion of the radio frequency spectrum and allow high data rate transmission in a single transponder. The on-demand capabilities, which allow users to obtain and pay for bandwidth only when needed, is an added benefit to the users.

Because of its versatility and mobility, ACTS has been used by the military during field maneuver exercises and most recently was used in Haiti to conduct secure video teleconferences to remote sites. Using a combination of terrestrial and ACTS link-up, President Clinton was able to address the U.S. commanders, troops and the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti in an interactive video conference in early October.

"ACTS can provide the equivalent of fiber optics in a bandwidth and data throughput communications satellites," explained Ron Schertler, chief, ACTS Experiments Office. "We have demonstrated its capabilities to commercial, medical, education and government entities and see user demand for time on ACTS growing."

According to Dr. Burt Edelson, director, Institute for Advanced Space Research, George Washington University, "In its first year ACTS has demonstrated the on-orbit performance of several key technologies of great importance to the future of satellite communications. The most significant of these technologies are the microwave switch matrix, multi-beam antenna, on-board processing and Ka-band transmission. These technologies have all worked well and several are being incorporated into future operational satellite designs." ACTS is providing the technological building blocks for future commercial communications satellites that will help accelerate the development of the National and Global Information Superhighway.

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