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February 23, 1994 (Phone: 202/358-0547) Paula Korn Brown University, Providence, R.I. (Phone: 401/863-2476) RELEASE: 94-28 NASA INSTALLS TELECONFERENCE SYSTEM FOR GATEWAY TO MOSCOW NASA's Office of Space Communications has installed a Video Teleconference System (ViTS) facility at Brown University, Providence, R.I., to expand video teleconferencing coverage to Russia. The new facility also enables a connection to NASA's Program Support Communications Network (PSCN), providing video teleconferencing with NASA's field centers, international partners and contractors connected to the network. The installation connects NASA's PSCN with the university's established satellite circuit link with Russia. For several years, Brown has had video teleconferencing capabilities with the Russian Institute of Space Research (IKI) in Moscow, through direct transmissions on the Russian Intersputnik satellite. The linkage accommodates 2-way discussions between members of the university's planetary geology group and scientists at IKI. This installation will allow NASA's network also to be linked with IKI. The new ViTS facility will allow NASA scientists and engineers to work directly with researchers to collaborate in real time on their projects. In addition, the connection between teachers, NASA scientists and engineers will provide an unprecedented educational resource for the classroom.
Brown University has a long history of support for NASA, through grants and contracts, by performing planetary geological research and providing access of NASA data from interplanetary spacecraft and probes to scientists and the general public. Brown was an active participant in U.S. and Russian planetary missions, including the U.S. Magellan and Galileo missions and Russia's Venera and Phobos missions. - more -2The United States has signed agreements with the Russian government for cooperation in space exploration and research. The recent February Space Shuttle Discovery flight demonstrated a first step in a three-phased program of U.S./Russian cooperation, with the participation of a Russian cosmonaut serving as a crew member. Phase one entails up to 10 Space Shuttle-Mir missions that include rendezvous, docking and crew transfers to occur between 1995 and 1997. Phase two is the joint development of the core international space station program. Phase three is the expansion of the space station to include all international partners. The NASA ViTS is a state-of-the-art network that can link any or all of 15 NASA sites with high quality video and audio teleconferencing capabilities. The nationwide network has additional gateways to NASA's international partners, including the European Space Agency, the Japanese Space Agency, the Canadian Space Agency and most recently, the Russian Space Agency. The Office of Space Communications is responsible for planning, development and operation of worldwide communications, command, navigation and control, data acquisition, telemetry and data processing essential to the success of NASA programs and activities. -end-