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Colonel May. This is a view of the routes that are so currently heavily traveled and are expected to be even more so in the future across the Atlantic, you can see our involvement. Our neighbors' involvement is great, too. Canada controls all of this traffic; this is the Gander flight identification region and this is the one operated jointly by the British and the Irish, called Shanwick.
And now a quick look
Mr. HOLIFIELD. The volume of your communications is much heavier over the Atlantic, I suppose
Colonel May. Yes, sir.
Colonel May. I would say at least 75 percent more, sir. It is very heavy. That is the reason why our first satellite we would propose should be located equatorially orbited, of course, at synchronous altitude and at about 15 to 18 degrees west. This will give us the coverage that we feel we need initially to relieve our current congestion.
(Referring to chart 6, p. 417.)
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Why is it equatorially situated rather than further north in the hemisphere where most of the population is?
Colonel May. Because it is easier to hold it here, sir.
Colonel May. Yes. It is just like Syncom II and III, it is just easier to hold it on the equator for perfectly good physical reasons which I don't profess to fully understand, but Comsat assures us that the steering problems and, as a matter of fact, the initial placement problems are infinitely simpler there and since we are not really concerned about such areas as Iceland and the polar regions at the moment, this would be quite adequate.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. You can make your communications with an equatorial orbiting satellite without any trouble ?
Colonel May. That is correct.
One of our objectives, of course, in planning the operational concept for the use of the satellite across the Atlantic was to make the translation, the transition, from high frequency to satellite use as simple and straightforward as possible, and it can be unbelievably simple.
Today we go through a high frequency ground station, usually operated by Aeronautical Radio, Inc. He is the middleman. He is the man who is talking with the pilot in flight via high frequency radio.
By going to satellites, we eliminate the middleman completely, and here (referring to chart 4, p. 414) you have your aircraft controller sitting in his position in the air route traffic control center talking directly to the pilot in flight and it is relatively that simple. That is the reason why the translation is so easy and here are the coordination channels you asked me about, Mr. Roback.
That, then, is the simplicity of the operation of satellites.
Colonel May. The Comsat proposal was that they would use Andover, Maine, on the east coast, as the U.S. terminal, and that the British would place one near Shannon, at Shanwick (Ireland),
as the terminal on that end. They have had discussions with the British relative to how it would be built and who would pay for it, and that has been their discussion and not ours. In our discussion with them we have asked for a packaged solution to our problem on a leased basis. Mr. Dahlin. What is the frequency problem that you speak of!
Colonel May. The frequency problem, as Mr. Conerly says, is a very simple one. If you fly on VHF at all, that is if you fly using VHF, you know how crowded the channels are today.
Mr. DAHLIN. How about the decision on frequencies in this system?
Colonel May. Well, how to place it within the already crowded band of 118 to 136 megacycles.
Mr. DAHLIN. Is there any problem on the 6-4, up and down?
Mr. DAHLIN. There will be no interference with Comsat's other satellites?
Colonel May. None at all.
We could have almost an infinite number of voice channels through there if we wished this. But in the VHF spectrum it is entirely different. You will recall, Mr. Roback, that I told you in some detail of one proposal to slip these satellite channels into existing channels. It happens that as the frequency stability of the airplane equipment has become better over the years it has been possible to use less bandwidth and we are now using 50-kilocycle channel spacing. We can put a 25-kilocycle FM band between the existing aircraft channels without interfering with adjacent channels.
Hughes has done test work on that. While it is far from being the final word at least it looks highly promising. However, the desision with respect to going this way has not been made yet.
Mr. DAHLIN. Can you give us a little more of the background on what the ATS relation to this proposal is? What have you tried to work out with NASA on the ATS!
Mr. CONERLY. We have a complete test plan worked out with NASA to conduct tests over the Pacific as soon as the ATS-B is in orbit.
Mr. ROBACK. For what, air-ground?
Mr. CONERLY. Not air-ground; air-satellite-ground; yes, right. Using their facility.
Mr. DAHLIN. This same arrangement with these circuits?
Mr. CONERLY. It will be in the 136; 135.9, and 148 are the two frequencies used.
Mr. ROBACK. That will have VHF
Mr. ROBACK. The FCC or the DTM-if I use all these initials I hope you can follow-said that they don't want the ATS to be used for traffic, for administrative traffic.
Do you use it for administrative traffic?
Mr. ROBACK. Or traffic control? I am not asking about your intent; I am asking technically whether you can use the ATS for an experimental program of air-ground satellite communication?
Mr. CONERLY. It takes special equipment with aircraft because the 148 frequency is outside the normal band we use in these aircraft.
Mr. Dahlin. It is the one you are planning to use?
Mr. Dahlin. That is what I asked you. That is not the same one as this proposal.
Mr. CONERLY. No; we would come down wholly within the VHF band we have authorized for air-ground communications.
Colonel May. The transponder experiments on ATS-B is only a tiny part of the overall ATS-B objectives, in fact it is a very small part.
Mr. Conerly's organization has come up with a complete test plan on the ATS-B which might be of interest to you, it gives frequencies, details, times, and I would say everything that you need to know on the ATS-B. It is just an experiment and there is no intent to convert it to operational use like Syncom II or III.
Mr. ROBACK. Have you finished your representation?
Mr. HOLIFIELD. Thank you, gentlemen, for your testimony. This has been very interesting.
Mr. LEAGUE. Thank you, sir.
(Whereupon, at 12:05 p.m., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 10 a.m., Tuesday, September 6, 1966.)
GOVERNMENT USE OF SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 1966
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D.C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to recess, at 10 a.m., in room 2247, Rayburn Office Building, Hon. Chet Holifield (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representative Holifield.
Also present: Herbert Roback, staff administrator; Douglas G. Dahlin, counsel; Paul Ridgely, investigator; Joseph Luman, defense analyst; and J. P. Carlson, minority staff.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. The committee will be in order.
We will continue our hearings on Government use of satellite communications.
Our first witness is Walter D. Sohier, General Counsel for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
(The biographical sketch of Mr. Sohier follows:) BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF WALTER D. SOHIER, GENERAL COUNSEL, NATIONAL
AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION Born in Boston, Mass., in 1924. Served with the field artillery of the Army for 342 years during World War II.
Graduated from Harvard College in 1948 with honors in American government. Worked briefly for the National Planning Association. Graduated from Columbia Law School in 1951, where also served as staff assistant for the Legislative Drafting Research Fund of Columbia University. At Columbia, was a Stone scholar.
From 1951 to 1952, was employed by Central Intelligence Agency. Transferred in 1952 to the Office of General Counsel, Department of the Air Force, and worked primarily on legal matters in the procurement and civil aviation areas. In 1955, transferred to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force (Materiel) where served for 2 years as Assistant to the Deputy for Procurement and Production. Returned to Air Force General Counsel's office for 2 years, working primarily in areas of civil aviation and international matters such as foreign base rights negotiations.
Joined National Aeronautics and Space Administration in November 1958 as Assistant General Counsel, working primarily on procurement matters. Became Deputy General Counsel of NASA in 1961, and General Counsel in 1963. Mr. HOLIFIELD. Mr. Sohier, you may proceed.