An exciting new chapter in space communications begins with the signing of a
Space Act Agreement among NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH, the
Ohio Board of Regents, Columbus, OH and Ohio University, Athens, OH, for the
use of NASA’s Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS). The
agreement calls for the formation of a national educational consortium that
will assume the operational management of ACTS.

“The Consortium has the impressive potential to advance education and
commercial technology development across the state of Ohio and beyond,” said
Glenn Center Director Donald J. Campbell. “As a result, we will witness the
development of a highly-skilled workforce in a relatively new field, as well
as the introduction of state-of-the art products that accompany the
evolution of technology.”

The agreement supports Ohio’s economic invigoration by providing advanced
technology and facilities to help enable the communication infrastructure
needed for the future. This consortium will extend the satellite’s benefits
to national academic and economic communities by leveraging federal, state,
private and academic resources for collaborative educational and
research-based activities. Extending access to ACTS will also be a catalyst
for small business growth by encouraging development of Ka-band
communications for commercialization.

“It is fantastic to see that one more phase of ACTS is evolving through this
educational consortium, far exceeding any of the original program designers’
conceptions,” said Robert A. Bauer, ACTS project manager at Glenn. “Future
benefits to satellite communication education and research in this country,
made possible through the consortium, are extremely inspiring.”

The consortium will focus on enhancing the nation’s knowledge and skills of
Ka-band satellite systems and operations. This will assist in the
development of a future workforce prepared in advanced space communications
and the creation of collaborative approaches to coordinate private and
public resources for advancing information technology. Uses range from
studies of satellites as Internet carriers to using space technology for
distance education.

“We are pleased to join in this new agreement enabling the research and
development of technologies that make broadband Internet access available to
more Ohioans,” said Roderick G.W. Chu, Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor.
“This project is an innovative, exciting addition to the ongoing investments
by the Regents in conjunction with Internet technologies research already
underway at many of Ohio’s outstanding universities and colleges.”

The Ohio Board of Regents will facilitate the consortium’s formation, whose
core will consist of educational institutions, and Ohio University will lead
the effort. Researchers with universities in Ohio and Texas, as well as
businesses in Denver, Houston and Cleveland, have already expressed
membership interest. The broadest possible participation by academia,
industry and governmental agencies nationwide will be solicited.

“We are pleased and honored to be so closely associated with the continued
operation of ACTS,” said Dennis Irwin, chair of electrical engineering and
computer sciences in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology at Ohio
University. Irwin will serve as Director of the consortium. “Interestingly,
ACTS was so far ahead of the state of the art when it was launched in 1993
that companies are still interested in using it today to develop support
systems for the new generation Ka-band communication satellites expected to
be launched in this decade. As far as I am aware, this is the first time a
university-led consortium has assumed responsibility for such a significant
national asset.”

ACTS has been serving as the nation’s Ka-band on-orbit test bed since its
launch in 1993. Glenn managed the design, development, launch and operations
of the satellite. With all NASA technical program objectives met, NASA had
planned to retire the spacecraft in October 2000, but concluded that there
was sufficient life and capability remaining to offer the spacecraft as an
educational research tool to a university consortium. The Ohio Board of
Regents responded to a national call by NASA seeking academic organizations
interested in utilizing ACTS.

For more information on the ACTS Consortium, please visit:

For more information on the ACTS Experiments Program, please visit:

Barbara L. Kakiris, InDyne, Inc./Lori J. Rachul

NASA Glenn Research center

(216) 433-2513/(216) 443-8806

Michael Brown

Ohio Board of Regents

(614) 752-9480

Dennis Irwin/Hans Kruse,
Ohio University

(740) 593-1566/(740) 593-4891