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Artificial satellites, Astronautics, History

GavaghanCommunications | Source material

SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN, Satellites and the Beginning of the Space Age
Copyright for the book, including research notes, Copernicus/Springer Verlag (New York)

History of artificial satellites
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p265

teristics and Capabilities DoD Desires from a Commercially Operable Satellite-Based Telecommunication System". Appendix C: Industry-Department of Defense Cooperation in Satellite-Based telecommunications (John Rubel's papers).

A memorandum dated September 6, 1960, records a meeting at AT&T's headquarters on that day. The meeting discussed a request from NASA for information about Bell System's plans for satellite communication and research. The Memo gives AT&T's policy views. The views were laid out in a letter of September 9 to T. Keith Glennan, which said that satellites should be operated by commercial companies, not government, and that enough information existed from Echo 1 for Bell to want to proceed immediately to work on active repeaters. (Box 85080203, AT&T archives).

AT&T was clearly fighting for a comprehensive role in satellite communication, as numerous documents in AT&T's and NASA's records show. For example; on March 10, 1961, Jim Fisk, head of BTL, sent a letter to Richard S. Morse, assistant secretary of the Army, expanding on an informal proposal sent by Bell to Morse on March 3. Even though the letter refers to Bell's ideas for an experimental, not operational, program, the proposal's completeness, with all the control that it would have ceded to AT&T might reasonably have raised concerns in government over the extent of the control that the monopolistic AT&T would yield over something as vital as international communications.

Fisk wrote, "Bell Systems' interest is simply stated: communication satellites promise a natural extension of the present microwave common carrier networks and a natural supplement to present overseas radio and cable circuits."

Specifically, Fisk proposed that Bell should design, construct, and pay for the fixed ground stations in the U.S.; arrange for foreign ground starions with overseas common carrier partners; design, construct and pay for repeaters, providing frequencies for specific military uses as well as common carrier uses; accommodate the experimental requirements of the other common carriers on terms mutually agreeable; provide systems engineering assistance to the Department of Defense from the developmenr of transportable or mobile ground terminals; provide systems engineering assistance to the Department of Defense to adapt the low-orbit satellite repeaters into synchronous orbit repeaters when the orbiting, ori-


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Page text content checked against original in print by HG on 2nd May, 2013.

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