NASA’s still high-flying Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS)
has brought home another award. The Society of Satellite Professionals
International selected NASA to receive a 2002 Industry Innovators Award for
Technology Development and Applications at a March 6 ceremony in Washington,

The society cited NASA for proving the viability of a number of first-time
satellite communications technologies using ACTS. The award was accepted as
a NASA-industry partnership with Glenn Research Center’s Acting Deputy
Director Gerald Barna accepting the award for NASA, and Frank Gargione,
retired, accepting on behalf of Lockheed Martin, the satellite builder and
prime contractor for its operation. ACTS project manager Robert Bauer and
Space Communications Office Chief Pete Vrotsos, both from Glenn, accompanied

"It was really an honor and quite unexpected for the society to recognize
the ACTS Program. NASA is pleased that the program had such a positive
impact that, even years after the main thrust of the program, it continues
to be recognized by the satellite industry for its contributions," Barna

ACTS, launched in 1993 as an experimental platform, is the first high-speed,
all-digital communications satellite. It is the first to have sophisticated
telephone-system-type switching. The satellite can carry data at fiber-optic
data rates with the same transmission quality, performance and cost
efficiency that that land-based networks provide. It operates in the
uncrowded Ka-band (18 to 30 gigahertz) portion of the radio spectrum.

Communications engineers and scientists at NASA Glenn, who conceived and
designed ACTS, used it as a testbed for their Ka-band satellite
communications technologies for over 6 years. Today, ACTS is an educational
tool and testbed run by the Ohio Consortium for Advanced Communications

Previous awards to ACTS include its induction into the Space Technology Hall
of Fame and a 1995 R&D 100 Award by Research and Development Magazine.

The Society of Satellite Professionals is a nonprofit member-benefit society
that promotes professional development and stimulates the growth of the
industry, in part, through its Industry Innovators awards.

For more information about ACTS, see