$150 Million Satellite Projects Seen
Hughes Aircraft Company’s Space and Communications Group will have an additional $150 millions in business with the decision by the Federal Communications Commission to authorize five additional domestic satellite systems.
Granted were applications by American Satellite Corporation, RCA Global Communications, GTE/Hughes Satellite Corporation, American Telephone and Telegraph Company/Comsat and Communications Satellite Corporation.
Hughes will build the satellites for the AMSAT, GTE/Hughes and ATT/Comsat systems. The company last week signed a $65.9 million contract with Comsat for four satellites to serve the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
(Previously, the FCC had approved an application by Western Union Telegraph Company, for which Hughes will build three satellites.)
Vice President Albert D. Wheelon, Group executive said the FCC decision was welcome for two reasons: “Approximately $200 million of private capital will be invested in the aerospace industry. Part of this investment will go to McDonnell-Douglas and General Dynamics companies for rocket boosters. The remainder is for the communications satellites to be built for the ATT/Comsat, GTE/Hughes, and ATT/Comsat systems.”
Dr. Wheelon added, “This is the largest single injection of private capital into the space industry and marks a turning point in that it represents the development of a substantial non-government market for spacecraft and booster manufacturers. This opportunity comes at a time when defense and NASA funding of satellite development is declining and is thus doubly welcome.”
“While communications satellites have been used to carry international traffic for 10 years, U. S. space technology will now be put to work for the 200 million people who supported the development of this technology. With the Western Union systems authorized early this year, the decision by the FCC guarantees that a breadth of innovative and improved domestic communications services will be available starting in 1974”