Decision Will Expand HC’s Business
The FCC’s approval July 25 for construction of 23 new U.S. satellites ended a more than 1-1/2 year wait by Hughes Communications Galaxy Inc. For HCG, which had filed in November 1983 for several new spacecraft, the decision was well worth the wait. The company now has the official go-ahead to build and launch one additional C band and two new Ku band spacecraft, breakthroughs which mean big things to the Hughes subsidiary. As an addition to HC’s orbiting series of three Galaxy satellites, the C band bird, christened Galaxy IV, will allow HC Galaxy to expand its business over the next five years, says Jerry Farrell, HCG vice president. Before the FCC decision, “85 percent of the Galaxy transponders were committed – either leased or sold – so there was a definite need for additional capacity,” Farrell explains. “We will market Galaxy IV as a preemptible service so that we can also use it for a backup for the present Galaxy system.”
Authorization to construct and launch the Ku band duo is also “very important” to HC’s future. Farrell says, because it allows the company to move into a new area – corporate telecommunications, or a company’s use of a satellite system for voice and data transmission and videoconferencing between company plants.
These days, the direction of communications is toward this type of customer on-premise system, Farrell says, and the Ku band spacecraft will enable HC to provide these systems at a lower cost to the customer. Because the spacecraft is higher in power than C band birds, customers can use smaller, less expensive receivers, thereby lowering the overall cost of the system.
With the authorization cleared, HC is now formulating plans to initiate satellite construction.