From The Advanced Communications Technology Satellite: An Insider’s Account of the Emergence of Interactive Broadband Services in Space

Many government-sponsored communication programs are undertaken to develop technology and/or create an environment which leads to increased private sector investment, and the formation of ventures which are in the public interest. In the U.S., government promotion of communication technology has a long heritage. For instance, in 1843, Congress appropriated funds for a demonstration of Samuel Morse s telegraph system between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Its successful completion and operation led to the commercial expansion of telegraph service throughout the United States [155]. Since World War II, the federal government has assumed a strong role in building the nation s science and technology capabilities. The legacy created by Dr. Vannevar Bush s Office of Scientific Research and Development changed the course of scientific and technological R&D in the U.S. by creating a large and increasingly active role for the federal government.

At the start of the space era, relatively little was known about the extreme environment of space. As described in Chapter 1, Program Formulation, research and development carried out by NASA and the DOD in the late 1950s and the early 1960s served to reduce the technical risks associated with both the launch and operation of communication satellites. Following the 1960s, NASA s ATS program developed technology for commercial use and was highly beneficial to the industry. ATS developed political ambivalence during its later stages, however, and was phased out in 1973 because of budgetary pressures [1]. The ACTS program was initiated in the 1980s because of private industry s lack of resources for...

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