Satellite contract will support NASA's move to digital TV

NASA has awarded a four-year, $25 million contract for satellite communication services to support space shuttle video feeds.

The service, provided by Americom Government Services Inc. of Princeton, N.J., through prime contractor Marshall Communications Corp. of Sterling, Va., also will carry NASA TV, which is moving from a single analog channel to multiple digital channels.

NASA awarded the satellite contract after holding a recompetition for existing services already provided by Americom. The space agency wanted to consolidate separate contracts for satellite, terrestrial and technical support under a single integrator.

Americom will use its fleet of 43 satellites to provide end-to-end network services, including uplinks to ground stations and downlink reception. Communications will be broadcast to NASA's Marshall, Kennedy, Goddard, White Sands and Johnson flight centers.

NASA TV provides video feeds for news outlets, scientific analysis and educational programs. The agency announced March 1 that the service will become digital. The new technology will allow concurrent broadcast of multiple channels over a single satellite transponder. Consumers of the service will have to upgrade their own equipment to continue to receive the new signal.

Additional information about the transition is available at www.nasa.gov/ntv.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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