Back Ground of Satellite Communication


Satellite communications technology is a tremendous force for change and innovation. From the first satellite telephone call, to the moon landing in 1969, to today's global coverage of the Olympics with more than 3 billion viewers, satellites have helped create a world community. From $300 trillion annually in worldwide electronic funds transfers to hundreds of millions of airline reservations, satellites play critical roles in finance, business and international trade. Despite growth in fiber optic cables, some 60% of all overseas communications is satellite based. Today, more than 200 countries and territories rely on about 200 satellites for domestic, regional and/or global linkages, defense communications, direct broadcast services, navigation, data collection, and mobile communications. Satellite communications is the largest and most successful of all commercial space enterprises -- it is currently a $15 billion per year business which could grow to $30 billion per year within the decade.

In the mid 1960s, when satellite communications first became a commercial reality, the United States was not just the leader, but was predominant in every aspect from launch vehicles to satellite technology. The agreements under which the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) was established were originally negotiated on an interim basis only, giving the United States a dominant leadership role. Japan and Europe felt they would need a number of years to enter seriously into the field. Today, more than a quarter of a century later, conditions have changed dramatically.

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