Tuesday, February 3, 2009

NASA wants a for-profit network to support lunar missions

By James Oberg

IEEE Spectrum

Lead engineer Rob Kelso says NASA has already begun discussions with satellite communications industry experts to figure out the bandwidth and system architecture requirements needed for such a network. However, at this point, NASA is focused on the business structure of the network and finding “a mutually acceptable approach to balancing investment, commitment, and risk,” says Kelso.

NASA could take a number of paths toward a commercial moon network, but according to Kelso the agency is leaning toward using satellite communications firm Intelsat as a model. With its fleet of more than 50 orbiters, Intelsat is now the largest commercial satellite operator in the world. The company began as an intergovernmental organization serving its member nations and was privatized in 2001. The U.S. government would be a major stockholder in the new lunar-network company, and the corporation would choose and develop the technology to serve its customers.
Read the story HERE.

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