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Press Release 96-15

Sally V. Harrington
NASA Lewis Research Center


CLEVELAND, OH -- State-of-the-art technology provided by the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) Project Office at NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC) will enable a live, interactive tele- cast of medical procedures at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC, to medical professionals in Bogota, Colombia, on April 11, l996. The telecast will take place at a conference being held April 11-13, in conjunction with a continuing medical education program sponsored by Georgetown's Division of Gastroenterology.

Through technology developed at LeRC, the lead center for NASA's Space Communications Program, ACTS will present this pioneering telemedicine space bridge. It is a striking demonstration of on-demand, wideband transmission capabilities that will be required for national and global information infrastructures and an example of the integration of satellites into those infrastructures. The Georgetown University Medical Center is playing an important role by enabling the conference participants to experience an advanced application in telecommunications and to provide feedback that will be passed along to future commercial satellite telecommunication service providers.

Launched in 1993, ACTS operates as an experimental testbed to pioneer new satellite technologies which enable cost effective services such as telemedicine. "Pioneering telemedicine via satellite demonstrates NASA's aggressive commitment to working with United States industrial and medical leaders to transfer this cutting-edge technology to improve the quality of life on Earth," says Rod Knight, who manages the ACTS project at Lewis. Presently, new technologies which include transmission of voice, data, and video between terminals in a wide variety of locations including geographically dispersed terminals as well as mobile terminals on vehicles, aircraft, and ships, have been demonstrated on approximately 100 experiments. Experiments have included applications in banking, long-distance education, high-speed computing, and defense-related applications.

The telecast demonstrates how NASA is working with U.S. industry and academia to transfer technology to commercial providers. It promotes the use and availability of similar technology and applications to the American people in the near future. This telecast is being provided to a developing country in South America, but similar telecasts could be delivered to rural counties in the U.S. which have similar needs. The telecast from Georgetown University Medical Center provides NASA Lewis an opportunity to demonstrate how technology can be applied to benefit the quality of life.

ACTS is the centerpiece of NASA's program to advance international competitiveness of the U.S. commercial space communications industry. Program oversight is provided by NASA Headquarters Office of Space Access and Technology.

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