Historic Intelsat VI contract product of personal performance—Hughes News April 30, 1982

The fixed-price contract between SCG’s Commercial Systems Division and the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) is the largest military or commercial communications satellite contract ever awarded.

It covers the development and construction of five spacecraft and is valued at $700 million. Options for 11 additional spacecraft could raise the value to $1.6 billion.

INTELSAT, a consortium of 106 countries, will use the satellites to provide international communications service. Almost all international television transmissions and about two-thirds of intercontinental telephone service are carried by the organization’s current fleet of 14 satellites.

“The campaign for Intelsat VI began back in late 1979,” said Steve Pilcher, an assistant manager in CSD in charge of new business activity. He also managed the proposal.

“It was then that Bruno Miglio, assistant manager of CSD marketing, began meeting with Intelsat users to survey current and future needs and coordinate them with our technical people, who translated those needs into spacecraft designs,” Mr. Pilcher said.

He named a few key individuals.

“During our proposal stage, we were able to borrow many people which was on hold at the time,” he said.

“One of them is Jerry Dutcher, our chief technical person on the proposal and now the program’s assistant manager for systems engineering, integration and test. He was manager of the Leasat Program.

Other technical people “borrowed” from Leasat were Tom Eakins, Chuck Rubin, Al Verbin, and Larry Watson.

Martin Deckett and John Upton coordinated all the meetings and activities between Hughes and the team of international electronics and aerospace firms working on the program.

Jim Thompson led the communications systems engineering and design effort, and Al Wittman was in charge of the spacecraft design. He developed initial concepts and implemented them.

Bill Pomeranz, manager of Business Operations in CSD , and his group “really broke their backs” to ensure the $700-million fixed price was a “good” figure,” Mr. Pilcher said. More than 10,000 pages of cost data were generated by the organization during the proposal, he added.

Mr. Pilcher said special recognition should be given to SCG’s Publications/Graphics people for their work.

“Marilyn Gatto had almost her entire crew working at one time or another on this proposal.”

“And,” he continued, “we really had strong support from Senior Vice President George Todd and the Hughes International organization. Phil Van der Veen in the Brussels office, Willie Kamai in Tokyo, and Tom Shukay and Rock Arant in the Washington office, were especially helpful to us,” he said.

Dick Brandes, CSD manager, led the Hughes team in final negotiations with Intelsat.

“Once the proposal was submitted last August, we had everyone in the company—Corporate, Group, and division management—standing up for us,” Mr. Pilcher said.

“There has been a great amount of travel between El Segundo and Washington, Europe, and Japan as part of the company’s intensive campaign that resulted in this win.”

The Intelsat VI Program office has drawn its management strength from three SCG divisions—CSD, Defense Systems and NASA Systems.

Dave Braverman, an associate manager in CSD, is program manager, associate manager is Mal Meredith from NSD.

Assistant mangers, in addition to Dr. Dutcher, are Dave Doyle, DSD business operations; Henry DiCristina, CSD, international subcontracts, and Ted Savo, NSD, operations.


This entry was posted in Projects/Missions by Jack Fisher. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jack Fisher

Jack was a systems engineer at Hughes from 1961 to 1992. He contributed to various programs including Surveyor, Pioneer Venus, Galileo, Intelsat VI and innumerable proposals. He was the manager of of the Spacecraft Systems Engineering Lab until his retirement. Upon retirement Jack taught systems engineering at a number of national and international venues.