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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.
STATEMENT OF WALTER D. SOHIER, GENERAL COUNSEL, NATIONAL
AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION; ACCOMPANIED BY EDMOND C. BUCKLEY, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR TRACKING AND DATA ACQUISITION
Mr. SOHIER. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, we are happy to be here this morning to provide the committee with the information requested in the chairman's letter of August 11, 1966, to James E. Webb, Administrator of NASA. Accompanying me as witnesses are Edmond C. Buckley, Associate Administrator of NASA for Tracking and Data Acquisition; and Leonard Jaffe, Director of Space Applications Programs in NASA's Office or Space Science and Applications. My own appearance before the committee results from the special responsibilities assigned to me by Mr. Webb and Dr. Seamans, the Deputy Administrator, to provide agency coordination in the area of satellite communications.
I will attempt in my statement to bring the committee up to date on the arrangements NASA has undertaken to procure satellite communications services for NCS/NASCOM, which is the operational NASA Communications Network, primarily in support of the Apollo program. I will then ask Mr. Jaffe to give the committee a report on advanced technical programs and studies in the field of satellite communications.
You will recall, Mr. Chairman, that Dr. Seamans, Mr. Buckley, and other NASA witnesses appeared before this committee last January and that quite extensive testimony was given on the status of NASA's plans for satellite communications services for the NCS/NASCOM network. Appendix 1 of the printed committee hearings contains the key correspondence between NASA and DOD relating to the provision of these services, culminating in Secretary McNamara's letter of October 5, 1965, authorizing NÄSA, as representative of the Executive Agent for the National Communications System (NCS), to proceed immediately to conduct negotiations with the Communications Satellite Corp. (Comsat) on the basis of the Comsat proposal to use the HS 303–A satellite (since designated as Intelsat II). In his reply of October 8, Mr. Webb confirmed that, based upon the work of a joint NASA/ DOD group as well as upon NASA's own review of possible alternative approaches, the Comsat proposal provided
a satisfactory basis for proceeding with negotiations in the view of NASA. Thus, when NASA witnesses last appeared before this committee to testify on this subject, negotiations with Comsat were being conducted at the same time.
NASA has now completed these negotiations. The agreement covering the furnishing of communications services by Comsat was entered into as of July 5, 1966. The corollary launch services agreement, under which NASA will launch the Intelsat II satellites for Comsat, was entered into as of July 22, 1966. The separate negotiations that have been conducted with the Australian, British, and Spanish communications entities, which will provide communications services between the satellites and the NASA tracking and data acquisition stations at Carnarvon, Australia, on Ascension Island, and on Grand Canary Island, respectively, are also virtually completed.
Now that NASA has completed its agreements with Comsat, it might be helpful to the committee if I very briefly summarized the salient features of these two agreements, and also commented on the current situation regarding the negotiations with foreign communications entities.
The Communications Services Agreement provides that Comsat will furnish satellite communications services necessary for communication with six stations, of which three are foreign earth stations and three are U.S. instrumentation ships. The earth stations are located at Carnarvon, Australia; Ascension Island; Grand Canary Island; the three instrumentation ships will be located as follows: one in the Atlantic, one in the Pacific, and one in the Indian Ocean. In order to make this service available, Comsat will place two satellites in synchronous orbit, one to cover the Atlantic and near Indian Ocean area, and the other to cover the Pacific, including Australia. Simultaneous access will be provided to any two of the four stations served by the Atlantic satellite, and to the two stations served by the Pacific satellite. Comsat will furnish communications satellite capacity necessary to provide six voice/data and two teletype circuits to and from each of the ships and six voice/data and two teletype circuits to each of the foreign earth stations. The service will be for continuous use; but the maximum use by NCS/NASCOM of each satellite will not exceed 12 voice/ data and 4 teletype circuits at any instant. Viewed in terms of satellite power requirements to provide this service, approximately 33 percent of the total capacity of the Pacific satellite and 54 percent of the Atlantic satellite will be required on the average.
Comsat will also furnish the operational management of the space segment and will serve as the primary point of coordination for the earth station services.
The agreement sets forth the rates and charges which will be incorporated in a tariff to be filed by Comsat with the Federal Communications Commission. During the negotiations, the proposed rates and charges were discussed with Comsat and analyzed by NASA in considerable detail. However, the actual rates to be charged for the communications services will be those ultimately established by the FCC under its normal ratemaking procedures.
The proposed rates and charges to be filed with the FCC by Comsat amount to $8,958,000 per year, or $26,874,000 over the 3-year period of service called for under the agreement. The services were originally planned to begin as soon as practicable after September 1, 1966, but not later than September 30, 1966, and to continue through September 30, 1969. However, there has been a change in the date the services will begin, because Comsat will not be ready to have the first Intelsat II satellite launched until late next month.
NASA's responsibilities, in addition to making the necessary contractual arrangements for the services to be furnished by the overseas carriers, and agreeing to pay for the services furnished by Comsat, include the installation and operation of the shipborne earth stations at no cost to Comsat.
During the life of the communications services agreement, NASA has the right to order a reduction of or an increase in the services being furnished by Comsat in either the Atlantic Ocean area or the Pacific Ocean area, or in both areas, at any time, subject to revised tariffs. NASA may terminate the agreement, in whole or in part, for the convenience of the Government, and rather complex provisions are included regarding the manner in which termination costs are to be determined. In the event Comsat should fail to make the services available in either the Atlantic Ocean area or the Pacific Ocean area, or in both areas, by April 1, 1967, NASA has the right to terminate the agreement for default.
Turning now to the launch services agreement, the principal purpose of this agreement is to provide for the launching, on a reimbursable basis, of at least two Intelsat II satellites, to be used for furnishing the NCS/NASCOM services. This, of course, is in discharge of NASA's obligations under the Communications Satellite Act of 1962. The agreement also provides for the launching of a replacement for the Early Bird satellite at the option of the corporation, thus superseding the comparable provisions in the December 1964 agreement pertaining to the launching of Early Bird satellites.
The launch services agreement schedules two launches of Intelsat II spacecraft during calendar year 1966. Provision is made for two optional backup launchings in the event of launch failures or the failure of a spacecraft to operate successfully in orbit. Provision is also made for optional launchings of replacements for Intelsat II satellites in the event of failure after successful operation in orbit.
The launch services to be furnished by NASA include providing the delta-type launch vehicles, providing the necessary facilities and support for prelaunch integration of spacecraft and payload at the Eastern Test Range, and providing tracking and other necessary support. NASA is also responsible for assuring the flight qualification of the launch vehicle, managing the launch vehicle-spacecraft integration at the Eastern Test Range, and managing, scheduling, and assuring that services are provided for the launching and injection of the spacecraft into orbit. *Comsat is obligated to so fabricate the spacecraft as to permit their launching by Delta-type vehicles, provide NASA with related drawings and plans, perform the qualification testing of spacecraft, and determine the mandatory launch criteria.
Concerning the financial arrangements, Comsat will reimburse NASA for the costs incurred by NASA in providing launching and associated services. Such costs will include cost of the delta-type vehicle, cost of transportation of the vehicle to the Eastern Test Range, cost of range and associated services which are regularly charged to NASA by the Eastern Test Range, cost of range and associated services which are regularly charged to NASA by the Eastern Test Range, cost of launch services, and cost of associated services such as guidance, tracking, communications services, telemetry recording, data processing, and project management and engineering support. The total estimated cost per launch is $3,572,290.
With regard to the communications services to be furnished by the three foreign communications entities, it had been NASA's intention at the outset to negotiate with Comst for the total service required. This would have left Comsat to deal directly with each foreign carrier. However, these carriers insisted upon dealing directly with NASA,
and after rather extensive efforts to get them to change their minds we found it necessary to abandon our initial approach and to negotiate separate agreements with each foreign carrier. We held up doing this until the negotiations with Comsat were virtually complete in order to use that agreement as the basis for subsequent negotiations with the foreign carriers.
NASA expects these negotiations to be completed in the near future. Almost all points of difference have been resolved, including the cost of providing the communications services. Rounded off, the annual cost for providing six voice/data and two teletype channels from the three foreign stations to the satellite will be around $4.3 million. Under its agreement with NASA, Comsat will manage the overall communications system, and this has been agreed to by the foreign carriers.
This completes my statement, Mr. Chairman, and I would now like to ask Mr. Jaffe to complete our presentation by giving you the details of NASA's advanced technical programs and studies in the field of communications satellites.
Mr. HOLIFIELD. All right, Mr. Jaffe, you may proceed.
(The biographical data of Mr. Jaffe follows:) BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF LEONARD JAFFE, DIRECTOR OF SPACE APPLICATIONS,
OFFICE OF SPACE SCIENCE AND APPLICATIONS, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
Leonard Jaffe is Director of Space Application in NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications. He assumed this position on January 24, 1966, and is responsible for direction of the NASA space applications program, which includes communications satellite research and development, meteorological satellite research and development, geodetic satellites research and development, natural resources efforts, and the study program in navigational satellites, Prior to assuming the above responsibilities, Mr. Jaffe was Director of communication and navigation programs from November 1, 1963, to January 24, 1966. Under his direction programs were established for the development of the Echo, Relay, and Syncom satellites. He was Director of Communications Systems for NASA from November 1961 to November 1963.
Mr. Jaffe is Chairman of the NASA Ground Station Committee, which coordinates and plans the cooperative testing of experimental communications satellites. Nations currently participating in this activity are Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Scandinavian countries, Spain, and India, as well as the United States.
Mr. Jaffe joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, (predecessor to NASA), in 1948 as an aeronautical research scientist at Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory, Cleveland. During his 11 years at Lewis he was engaged in electronic instrumentation in the Physics Division, served as head of the Automatic Data Section, and from 1956 to 1959, was Chief of the Data Systems Branch. He transferred to NASA Headquarters, Washington, in January 1959.
Mr. Jaffe was born in Cleveland, and earned his B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1948 at Ohio State University, Columbus. He did graduate work at Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland.
He is the author of numerous scientific publications and articles for technical journals. He is a senior member of the Institute of Radio Engineers, member of Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and the Ohio State Society for Professional Engineers. He was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Award in October 1964, and the Arthur S. Flemming Award for Scientific and Technical Achieve. ment in February 1965.
Mr. and Mrs. Jaffe (the former Elaine Michael) and their two sons, Ronald and Norman, reside at 418 Sisson Court, Silver Spring, Md.