S&CG captures $63 million contract for business satellites–Hughes News February 10, 1978 transcribed by Faith Macpherson

Will provide direct service

Hughes Aircraft is building three telecommunications satellites that will offer U.S. businesses and governmental agencies direct transmission of voice, printed matter, video, and high speed computer data.

The new spacecraft are being built for Satellite Business Systems (SBS) under a $63 million contract with Space and Communications Group’s Commercial Systems Division.

The contract, according to Al Owens, Hughes SBS Program manager, covers the spacecraft, apogee and perigee motors, and incentives for in-order performance as well as options for additional spacecraft.

The spacecraft will be the first U.S. domestic satellites to supply telecommunications services using higher frequency radio signals in the K-band, 12 to 14 GHz.

Compared to that of earlier communications satellites, the signal output strength of the SBS will be substantially larger, 20 watts instead of the usual five or six watts.

The stronger and higher frequency signals will enable SBS customers to transmit and receive satellite communications data through compact earth antennas, which will be mounted on the roofs or in parking lots of user offices.

Customers will be provided a full-service private network to handle intra-company communications faster and cheaper.

Covering the continental United States, spacecraft transmission beams will be electronically shaped to send the strongest signals to the more densely populated east-central and west coast regions of the country where SBS will install 5-meter antenna earth stations on user premises. Customers in most of the remainder of the country will be serviced through 7-meter antenna earth stations.

The superior communications performance in the Hughes proposal will allow SBS to use a greater proportion of 5-meter antennas than originally anticipated, according to SBS officials.

The SBS network will be an all-digital system and will feature time-division, multiple access, and demand assignment techniques.

The spacecraft design features an innovative telescoping solar panel which will deploy in space and double the prime power of the spin-stabilized spacecraft.

This feature also will reduce the space required for the solar panel aboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter launch vehicle, substantially lowering the launch costs of the satellite.





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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.