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Barbara E.

Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
August 17, 1992
(Phone: 202/358-1983)

Linda S. Ellis
Lewis Research Center, Cleveland
(Phone: 216/433-2900)

RELEASE: 92-134


NASA has selected 31 experiments from the public and private
sectors for inclusion in the Advanced Communications Technology
Satellite (ACTS) Program. Scheduled for launch in early 1993,
this national communications facility will operate as an
orbiting testbed for the next generation of commercial
communications satellites.

Planned for a 2-year experiment period, the ACTS program
offers a unique opportunity for commercial, governmental and
academic organizations to experiment with and validate new
communications satellite technologies.

"The ACTS program is a successful relationship in which
industry, academia and government have joined together to lead
America's innovation in unprecedented communications
technologies," said John G. Mannix, NASA Assistant Administrator
for Commerical Programs. "Such initiative restores this
country's preeminence in an increasingly competitive world

Developed to support future high-risk communications needs
which fall outside the sponsorship capability of the private
sector, the ACTS is pioneering technology developments that will
provide better service, lower cost, greater convenience and
improved reliability.

The ACTS system incorporates advanced technologies such as a
baseband processor which acts as an onboard computer providing
memory and processing aboard the satellite. This device
electronically sorts and routs traffic from points of origin to
points of destination without the necessity of going through a
ground station.
- more -


Another feature is an onboard microwave switch matrix that
can route high volume traffic at much higher data rates than
current communications satellites, thus allowing communications
between supercomputers or the distribution of high-definition
television signals.

The satellite's electronically hopping spot beams will focus
narrow, high-powered beams on isolated locations. These spot
beams are useful for linking geographically dispersed areas and
make it possible to reduce the size and substantially lower the
cost of the ground station. The satellite also will use radio
components at Ka-band, a new and uncrowded frequency band for
commercial use in the United States.

Experiments in the ACTS program will test a variety of
applications. American Express plans to transmit and receive
data at high speeds through the ACTS small ground stations
testing the technology for possible use in a future operational

In other experiments, the Mayo Foundation will use ACTS to
demonstrate medical support to remote communities and to
transfer high-definition imagery. The National Science
Foundation's Palmer Station in Antarctica will transmit data and
images used for scientific research. Georgetown University is
creating a high-speed, interactive education network in South

The ACTS experiments program is sponsored by NASA's Office of
Commercial Programs, Washington, D.C., with project management
provided by NASA Lewis Research Center, Cleveland.
Selected from 50 proposals submitted in response to an August
1991 Experiment Opportunity Announcement, the experiments are:

o "Video and High Definition Television Transmission (HDTV),"
C. V. Girod, The Public Broadcasting Service, Alexandria, Va.

o "Georgetown Hemispheric Intercultural Network for Knowledge
(G-Think)," Rev. Harold C. Bradley, S.J., Georgetown University,
Office of Federal Relations, Washington, D.C.

o "Hopping Beam Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) Operation
Observations," Robert Ridings, COMSAT Laboratories, Network
Technology Division, Clarksburg, Md.

o "Application of the NASA ACTS Satellite System to the
Practice of Medicine in an Integrated Group Practice," Dr. R. R.
Hattery, M.D., Mayo Foundation, Department of Diagnostic
Radiology, Rochester, Minn.
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o "Prototype Intelsat Operations," A. M. Goldman, Jr., COMSAT
World Systems, Washington, D.C.

o "High Bit Rate Modem Evaluation," Kerry D. Lee, Motorola,
Inc., Strategic Electronics Division, Chandler, Ariz.

o "Low Bit Rate Transmit Window Characterization," Kerry D.
Lee, Motorola, Inc., Strategic Electronics Division, Chandler,

o "Coding Gain Evaluation," Kerry D. Lee, Motorola, Inc.,
Strategic Electronics Division, Chandler, Ariz.

o "ACTS Mobile Terminal (AMT)," Tom Jedrey, NASA Jet
Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

o "Disaster Recovery, Backup and Communications Augmentation
Experiment Using ACTS," Don Flournoy, Institute for
Telecommunications Studies, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

o "Public Switched Network Restoration," Frank Dixon, National
Communications System, Arlington, Va.
o "Public Switched Network Trucking," Frank Dixon, National
Communications System, Arlington, Va.

o "Isolated User Access," Frank Dixon, National Communications
System, Arlington, Va.

o "Secure Mobile Communications," Frank Dixon, National
Communications System, Arlington, Va.

o "Quantify ACTS End-to-End Communication System Performance,"
Robert D. Cass, National Telecommunications and Information
Administration/Institute for Telecommunication Studies, U.S.
Department of Commerce, Boulder, Colo.

o "Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) Via ACTS," Lt.
Col. Mick Hanratty, AIRMICS, Georgia Institute of Technology,
Atlanta, Ga.

o "Army ACTS Experiments," Maj. Mary Kaura, USARSPACE,
Colorado Springs, Colo.

o "Applications of Small Earth Stations in Conducting
Telescience and Telemedicine," Gerald R. Taylor, Ph.D., Johnson
Space Center, Pace Biomedical Research Institute, Houston
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o "Real-Time, High-Bandwidth Data Links," Dr. Stephen Horan,
New Mexico State University, Department of Electrical and
Computer Engineering, Las Cruces, N.M.

o "Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) Experiments,"
Moorthy Hariharan, COMSAT Laboratories, Network Technology
Division, Clarksburg, Md.

o "Direct-To-Premise ACTS Based Video Services," Dr. Vason P.
Srini, Dataflow Systems, Division of Innovative Configuration
Inc., Berkeley, Calif.

o "ACTS Experiments Proposal," Frederick Weber, Orion
Satellite Corp., Rockville, Md.

o "Supercomputer Networking Applications," Dr. Burton I.
Edelson, The George Washington University, Institute for Applied
Space Research, Washington, D.C.

o "Protocol Evaluation for Advanced Space Data Interchange,"
Quoc T. Nguyen, The MITRE Corp., McLean, Va.

o "Traffic Modeling, Channel Characterization, Coding and
Modulation on ACTS," Y. Bar-Ness, Department of Electrical &
Computer Engineering, New Jersey Institute of Technology,
Newark, N.J.

o "Low-Cost Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)
Network," Dr. Kermit Reister, Center for AeroSpace Technology,
Weber State University, Ogden, Utah

o "Availability Comparison Between Ku and Ka Satellite
Technologies," Allen R. Neely, American Express, Phoenix, Ariz.

o "Satellite Communications for Transmission of Corrections to
GPS Users," Sally L. Frodge, U.S. Army Topographic Engineering
Center, Fort Belvoir, Va.

- "Advanced Applications to Validate ACTS Technologies," Dr.
David Y. Y. Yun, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Information
Technology Division, Honolulu, Hawaii.

o "Testing of ACTS Onboard Technologies for Selected Hybrid
Networking Applications," Dr. John S. Baras, University of
Maryland Center for the Commercial Development of Space.

o "Scientific Research on the Antarctic Peninsula," Raymond C.
Smith, National Science Foundation Division of Polar Programs.