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An Educational Services Public:ation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Relay satellite superimposed on artist's conception of space .
Within five years, advances in space technology may create an operational com munications satellite system that will vastly increase intercontinental telephone, telegraph, and data exchange channels and make possible transocean television.
active-repeater sate II ite. on radiation in space .
It is also equipped to
report on the functioning of its equipment and
Contributing to progress toward this
Relay is the first space communications experiment designed to link three continents-North America, Europe, and South America.
w communications era is NASA ' s Relay satel-
program. Relay is designed to test intercontinental
transmission of telephone, television, teleprint,
NASA FACTS (G-12-62)
Medium-altitude for altitudes from 2,000 miles. elay is equipped
an arbitrary designation thousand to about amplify, and
Active repeater signifies that receive,
tra nsmit radio signals. Active-repeater satellites di ffer fro m passive co m m u n i cati ons satellites, such as Echo, in that the latter function simply as mirrors for reflection of radio signals. Relay is but one of several experimental
communications satellite projects embarked upon by the United States. The different technical approaches of these programs are providing an extensive variety of information that is advancing the time when establishment of on operational system will be achieved.
INCREASING GLOBAL DEMAND FOR COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES
Tremendous growth in oversea com'munications demands is expected during the next two decades. The number of overseas telephone calls Use of oversea teleprinter Deto and from the United States is rising about 15 percent each year. xchange is climbing even more rapidly. and for world-wide television is mounting. Computers are talking to each other from As foreign need is developing for
coast to coast in growing numbers. economies expand, a
high-speed transmission of specialized data from one side of the world to the other and for data origi nating in numerous oversea locations to be fed into centrally located computer systems for rapid processing and analysis. most part, su pply such services. Radio and cable links currently furnish about 600 telephone circuits between the United States and abroad. Industry estimates that twice this By 1980, number will be needed in 1965 and that requirements will double again by 1970. about 10,000 circuits may be needed for telephone and a few other services, not including telecasts nor high-speed data transfers. Although short wave radio and undersea cable ill continue to play an important part in future ommunication, they alone cannot meet future needs. Keeping pace with global demand reExisting transocean radio and cable equipment cannot, for the quires a vast increase in circuit capacity-an increase possible through employment of microwave.
Symbol of modern overlond communications-a microwave tower.
MICROWAVE-COMMUNICATIONS SUPERHIGHWA Y
Microwaves are extremely short, ultra high frequency radio signals that can form of com munication. carry at the speed of light vast quantities of every known Moreover, microwa' communication is immune to weather and ionospheric disturbances that interfere with short wave radio. Within the continental United States and
NASA FACTS (G-12-62)
build a line of microwave towers across the ocean. But a communications satellite such as Relay functions as the equivalent of a microwave tower high in the sky, enabling microwaves to vault oceans.
THE RELAY SATELLITE
The 172-pound Relay satellite is 33 inches high and has a maximum breadth of 29 inches. The 18-inch long mast-like structure mounted on its
Th is shows how a series of microwave towers spaced about 30 miles apart on land can relay microwaves around the earth ' s curvature.
narrow end is the broadband antenna for carrying out television and other experiments in broadband communications. The four whip-like antennas projecting at about 45-degree angles from the broad end of the satellite are for command, tracking, and telemetry; that is, they are part of the systems for turning Relay experiments on and off, for tracking the satellite, and for acquiring and sending to earth data on component behavior and on radiation in space. The satellite's eight sides are encrusted with a total of 8,215 solar cells. These are photoelectric cells that absorb sunlight and convert it to electricity for charging three nickel cadmium batteries. Relay's power supply is designed to permit communications experiments aggregating 100 minutes per day without excessive drain on, and consequent damage to, the batteries. Relay's orbit passes through zones of intense radiation including part of the Van Allen Radiation Region. electricity. Radiation can damage solar cells, Except for some left unprotected for
A satellite can act as a microwave tower in the sky, relaying microwave signals across oceons.
reducing their ability to convert sunlight into experimental purposes, all of Relay's solar cells are shielded against radiation by a thin layer of
many other countries, microwaves are major carriers of telephone, television, telegraph, punched card, magnetic and punched tape, teleprinter, and facsimile communications . In effect, microwave is to other electronic neighborhood street.
quartz. Relay has two receiving, amplifying, and
transmitting systems (transponders) for communication experiments and two command systems by which the transponder can be turned off and on from the ground. do its job. This duplication is one way of increasing the chances that a spacecraft will If a part fails, another is ready to su bstitute for it . Relay is designed to handle a single television broadcast, 12 simultaneous two-way telephone calls, or their equivalent in data, teletype, and
communication methods in use today as a modern expressway is to a However, microwaves, like light, travel in straight lines-a serious limitation on a round earth. land, this limitation is overcome by use of re ay towers spaced about 30 miles apart so that microwaves can move in a straight line from one to the next. Admittedly, it is impracticable to
NASA FACTS (G-12-62)
Cutaways showing Relay satellite interior from two angles .
1. BROAD-BAND ANTENNA
2. SOLAR CELLS 3 . TELEMETRY TRANSMlnERS 4. BAnERY CHARGE CONTROLLER 5 . BAnERY BOX
II. TRACKING, TELEMETRY, AND COMMAND ANTENNA 12. THERMAL CONTROLLER 13. RADIATION DAMAGE PANEL
20. MICROWAVE BEACONS 21. SIGNAL CONDITIONER 22. RADIATION DETECTORS E,F 23 . VOLTAGE REGULATOR 24 . TWT POWER SUPPLY 25 . TELEMETRY ENCODER
26. SUN ASPECT INDICATOR (Indicates Satell ite Orientation ) 27. HORIZON SCANNER (Indicates Satellite Orientotion) 2B. RADIATION DETECTOR A 29. RADIATION SWITCH BOX G
14 . RADIATION EFFECTS CIRCUITRY
15. COMMAND RECEIVERS 16. BROAD-BAND RECEIVERS 17. COMMAND DECODERS lB . TRAVELING WAVE TUBE (Ampl ifying Device ) 19. PRECESSION DAMPER (Reduces Wobble)
6. CRUCIFORM STRUCTURE
7 . RADIATION DETECTORS B,C,D B. COMMAND CONTROL UNIT 9 . RADIATION SWITCH BOX H 10. TORQUE COIL (Adjusts Orientation)
On August 31,1962, President John F. Kennedy signed the Communications Satellite Act of 1962 authorizing the creation of a communications satellite corporation. The bill provided for half of the stock in the new corporation to be made available to the general public and half to
common carriers in the communications field. The bill
Technician works on Relay satellite.
also specified that public stockholders will elect six of the company's directors; the communications companies, six; and the Government will appoint three directors. The law gave the Federal Communications Commission broad powers to regulate rates and services, including allocation of facilities to insure effective competition. The Act directed NASA to: "1) advise the Federal Communications Commission on technical characteristics of the communications satellite system;
"2) cooperate with the corporation in research and
development to the extent deemed appropriate by the Administration in the public interest;
"3) assist the corporation in the conduct of its re-
search and development program by furnishing to the
corporation, when requested, on a reimbursable basis
such satellite launching and associated services as the Administration deems necessary for the most expeditious and economical development of the communications satellite system; "4) consult with the corporation with respect to the technical characteristics of the communications satellite
"5) furnish to the corporation, on request and on a reimbursable basis, satellite launching and associated services reauired for the establishment, operation, and maintenance of the communications satellite system approved by the Commission; and "6) to the extent feasible, furnish other services,
on a reimbursable basis, to the corporation in connection
with the establishment and operation of the system."
NASA FACTS (G-12-62)
other forms of communication. The satellite's transmitter has an output of 10 watts. A major part of Relay's equipment is devoted measuring space phenomena and satellite cirt, equipment, and design performance and to transmitting this information to earth. Among devices performing these tasks are radiation particle detectors, circuitry to measure radiation damage to components, and the telemetry encoder. The telemetry encoder is Relay's most complicated unit . It converts information from all the data-gathering instruments into electronic codes and flashes these codes to earth over 128 different channels at the rate of a channel a second . The one-pound encoder is made up of 5,186 parts.
Brazil; and, in the United States, at Andover, Maine; and Holmdel and Nutley, New Jersey. An example of the specially-designed ground station required for communications experiments is the American Telephone and Telegraph Company fac ility at Andover, Maine. and 94 feet high . The horn Its principal feature is a giant horn antenna 1 77 feet long can transmit a powerful 1 O,OOO -watt signal and can receive and amplify to useful strength a signal as faint as a billionth of a watt. The antenna is housed In a radome 210 feet in diameter and 160 feet high (about the height of a 16-story building). The radome is composed of man-made fiber and synthetic rubber that are transparent to radio signals. A unique station is the transportable unit near
RELAY GROUND FACILITIES
Relay ground facilities include stations for test stations for communications experiments;
Rio de Janeiro .
The unit can be delivered to It can handle
any location that can be reached by sea, air, road, or rail and can be set up in a day. services via the satellite. modified for television. Test stations check out the Relay satellite, including operation of its communications transponder, prior to communications experiments. They set the transponder for the type of transmissions scheduled and shut it off when the experiment is concluded. If the satellite is out of telephone, teletype, and high-speed data transfer Later versions may be
checking out the satellite in advance of communications experiments and turning its transponders on and off; and the NASA Minitrack network for tracking and acquiring data from the spacecraft. The ground stations that conduct experiments intercontinental and transocean communican are located at : Goonhilly Downs (near Falmouth), England; Pleumeur-Bodou, Br ittany, France; Fucino (near Rome), Italy; Rio de Janeiro,
MILESTONES IN SPACE COMMUNICATIONS January 11, 1946Project Diana. Radar signals beamed to moon are reflected back to earth for first time. (Department of Defense (DOD) Project) December 18, 1958Score launched. On December 19, this satellite broadcast to the world a tape-recorded Christmas greeting from President Eisenhower. This was the first voice message from a satellite. (DOD Project) August 1 2, 1960Echo I launched. Echo I has demonstrated the feasibility of sending voice, record, and facsimile long distances by bouncing microwaves from a passive satellite. (NASA Proj ect) October 4, 1960Courier launched. This satellite demonstrated that "active-repeaters" can be employed for voice, record, and facsimile communication. (DOD Project) July 10, 1962Telstar launched. On July 23, Telstar relayed the first live telecasts between Europe and the United States. It has provided high-quality transmissions of voice, data, television, telegrams, teleprint, and other forms of communications. (Joint project of NASA and American Telephone and Telegraph Company. The company paid all costs.)
December 13, 1962Relay launched. Aims to provide first satellite communications link between North and South America and Europe. An active-repeater satellite, like Telstar, Relay differs from its predecessor in important structural and technical features. As a result, the functioning of divergent designs can be compared and information acquired to develop equipment for eventual operational use. (NASA Project)
NASA FACTS (G-12-62)
G iant horn antenna at Andaver , Maine , dwarfs man stand i ng (center ) an one of its supports . in Relay communications expe riments .
This is be ing used
Braz i l i an eng i neers , stonding b e for e 30 -foot ant enna, confer on Relay e x per i ment s. The antenna is part of a transportabl e ground station for space communications experiments set up near Rio de Jane iro .
range of the test station, an automatic timer will turn the equipment off two minutes after use to conserve the satellite ' s power supply. The test stations are located at Nutley, New Jersey, and Mohave, California. NASA 's world-wide Minitrack network is tracking the Relay satellite and acquiring data on performance and condition of Relay equipment and on radiation in space. The stations are located at Blossom Point, Maryland; East Grand Forks, Minnesota; Fort Myers, Florida; College, Alaska; Mohave, California; St . Johns, Newfoundland; Woomera, Australia; Winkfield, EngIand; Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa; Antofagasta and Santiago, Chile; Lima , Peru ; a
NASA FACTS (G-12-62)
Quito, Ecuador . All stations funnel information for processing to NASA ' s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.
Planned communications experiments with photoRelay include intercontinental transmissions of television, telephone calls, teleprinter, facsimile, and data. Arrangements have been
made with commercial broadcasting organizations of Europe and the United States for public transatlantic telecasts. ing other types plan ned . Detectors within the satellite report the number and kinds of energetic particles in space. Such particles are free protons and electrons stripped from atoms-usually hydrogen atoms . The particles constitute much of the lethal and da maging radiation with which man and equipment must cope in space. Another experiment is intended to determine the effects of radiation on solar cells and semiconductors. dition . Thirty solar cells mounted on the These solar cells differ in design and es of the spacecraft are wired to report on their material and in the amount of protective coating. Some are unshielded. In addition, six diodes are attached to a radi ation damage experiment panel where they are exposed to the maximum radiation encountered by the satellite. Ordinarily, diodes are enclosed This orbiting of Relay was the fourteenth consecutive success for NASA's Delta launch vehicle. Delta also launched Echo I, NASA's first communications satellite; Telstar, the joint activein packages within the spacecraft.
Engineers at Cape Canaveral mate Relay satellite ta third stage of its Delta launch vehicle.
Public demonstrations involvof communication are also
LAUNCH AND ORBITAL INFORMATION
A Delta vehicle launched a Relay satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 6:30 p . m., EST, December 13, 1962. This satellite's perigee, or closest approach to earth, is about 820 miles; apogee, or farthest distance from earth, approximately 4,612 miles . It is inclined 47.47 degrees to the equator, enabling it to pass over a ground rea extending from 47.47 degrees north latitude o 47.47 degrees south latitude . Relay comtes a circuit of earth about every 185 minutes.
repeater satellite experiment of NASA and the American Telephone and Telegraph Company; TIROS II through VI experimental weather satellitesi the Orbiting Solar ObservatorYi Explorers XII, XIV, and XV scientific satellites; and Ariel built by the United States and United Kingdom, the world's first international satellite. The three-stage Delta vehicle can orbit satellites weighing as much as 800 pounds. weather, and scientific satellite experiments . It is assigned a major role in future communications,
NASA FACTS (G-12-62)
Second stage of Delta launch vehicle is hoisted to mate it with first stage on launch pad in background.
NASA FACTS format is designed for bulletin-boord display uncut, or for 8 x lOY, looseleaf notebook insertion when cut along dotted lines and folded along solid lines. For notebook ring insertion, punch at solid dots in the margins.
NASA FACTS will be mailed only to addressees who request it from: Office of Educational Programs and Services, NASA, 400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington 2S , D.C.
GOVER NM ENT PRINTI NG OFFICE ; 1963 Of-670374
For so le by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S . Government Printing Office Washington 25, D. C. -Price 15 cents per copy
An Educational Services Publication of the
FA ( TS
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
A REPORT ON THE FIRST RELAY COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITE
January 14, 1963
The first Relay satellite, launched December 13, 1962, could not at first function properly because of an abnormal power drain on its storage batteries. The problems relative to the satellite had been partially resolved by January 3, 1963, making possible the beginning of experiments in transatlantic communication. On Relay's fifth orbit, some 14 hours after launch, the ground test station at Nutley, New Jersey, checked the satellite's condition. The satellite's voltage was indicated at 22.5, which is below the lower limit of 24 volts required for operation of the communications equipment without damage to the battery. The trouble was traced to the voltage regulator in the No. 1 transponder-the receiving, amplifying, and transmitting apparatus in Relay. Relay is equipped with two identical transponders, each with its own voltage regulator. The voltage regulator channels power to the transponder at a proper voltage and acts as an on-off switch for the transponder. Telemetry showed that the regulator was conducting power to the transponder even though it was nominally off. As a result, it was partially powering the transponder, and draining the batteries. Extensive tests and analyses indicated that the main power transistor for the voltage regulator had temperature characteristics that could account for the equipment's malfunction. This transistor fails to function properly if it is too hot or too cold. Telemetry taken from the satellite on December 15, 17, and 19 showed a slow charging of Relay ' s batteries. Tests were suspended on the possibility that Relay would recover. On December 31, a check of the satellite revealed that it was functioning satisfactorily except for a small power drain by voltage regulator No.1. Because of difficulties experienced with the command system of transponder No.1, project managers decided to employ the other transponder. On January 3, 1963, they activated transponder No. 2 and carried out a continuing sequence of transatlantic television, telephone, and teletype communication tests. Some difficulty has been encountered with the command system of the satellite. However, techniques have been developed for satisfactorily commanding the equipment. Encouraged by the success of the tests, NASA, in cooperation with broadcasting companies of the United States and Europe, scheduled a public telecast via Relay. On January 9, 1963, Relay carried a television program from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., to stations in France and Great Britain. British and French viewers saw the unveiling of the Mona Lisa painting in the National Gallery and President Kennedy and others who were present at the unveiling ceremony. (Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa was loaned to the United States by France.) Reception in Europe was excellent. The television pictures from the gallery were transmitted conventionally to the Relay ground station at Andover, Maine, from which they were beamed to the satellite for retransmittal to Europe. A second Relay launch is scheduled in the second quarter of 1963.
USE OF THIS SUPPLEMENT The Information In thl. supplement to NASA FACTS, Project Relay (G-12-62) Incarparate. data on re.ults obtained after the fact sheet had been printed. The supplement has been designed for bulletin board display along with the fact sheet, or for punching and looseleaf notebook Insertion as page 9 of NASA fACTS, Project Relay.
GOVERNMEN T PA I NT ING OFFI CE : 1963 OF-57!122