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CSIR provides support for a satellite first

July 2005 News

When Boeing's Spaceway F1 satellite is launched on 26 April 2005 in Long Beach, California, the CSIR will have all systems in place to provide the launch support for the first Ka-band telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) satellite ever launched.

In terms of a contract awarded to the CSIR, its Satellite Application Centre (SAC) will support the launches of all three Spaceway satellites - Spaceway F1, F2 and F3. The support services to be offered range from telemetry (receiving the satellite's health status and data), tracking (tracking the satellite and sending Boeing the antenna pointing data and ranging data), to commanding (relaying commands from the Boeing control centre to the satellite).

A team comprising radio frequency engineers, system engineers and technicians from CSIR SAC was involved in the preliminary design review and technical discussions in the project's initial stages. Other projects undertaken by CSIR SAC to ensure the project's success included the construction of a new 13 metre full motion Ka-band antenna.

The US-designed Spaceway is a satellite network that will provide high-speed, two-way communications for Internet, data, voice, video and multimedia applications. The spacecraft is regarded as the next generation in satellite communications technology, with approximately five to eight times the capacity of current satellites. It features innovative, on-board digital processors, packet switching and spot beam technology. Spot beam technology will enable the satellite to provide services to small terminals, while on-board routers will enable mesh connectivity. Users of the system will thus be able to communicate directly with any other user of the system without requiring connection through a central hub.

CSIR SAC has been providing TT&C support to international satellite operators and launchers for over 40 years and is known worldwide as a provider of quality satellite support services. Its location at Hartebeesthoek, north of Johannesburg, makes it an ideal site for the support of satellites launched from Kourou, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral, and Sea Launch as well as for total lifetime support of geo-stationary satellites in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

For more information contact Hilda van Rooyen, CSIR Communication, 012 841 3638, hvrooyen@csir.co.za, www.csir.co.za





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