Pioneer Venus teams race deadline Hughes News August 19, 1977 transcribed by Faith Macpherson

 Nature is strict taskmaster

Deadlines on most Hughes programs are dictated by strict military schedules or equally demanding self-imposed time limits.

But the HAC Pioneer Venus Program is facing an unbending adversary – nature.

Engineers and technicians have been working up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to have both the Orbiter and Multiprobe spacecraft ready for those precise moments in May and August of 1978 when the Earth and Venus are in the proper relative positions for launches to Venus.

Should they miss the brief launch windows, the next opportunity for the assault on Venus would not come until about 1980.

The latest in a series of milestones on the program came this month as the assembly of the two spacecraft was completed and several months of careful testing began, explained Steve Dorfman, program manager.

Space and Communications Group is prime contractor for the Pioneer Venus Program for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA.

The two spacecraft will be launched three months apart, but because of the difference in the two trajectories, both will reach Venus in December 1978, with the Orbiter scheduled to arrive five days before the Multiprobe spacecraft.

The Orbiter, to be launched in May 1978, will study the Venusian atmosphere over a 243-day period.

Its elliptical orbit will bring it to within 125 miles of the surface. Mr. Dorfman said most of the data gathering will occur when the spacecraft is closest to the planet, about an hour a day.

The Multiprobe, to be launched in August 1978, will consist of a bus, a large probe, and three small probes. The four probes will separate from the bus and enter the Venusian atmosphere, descending to the surface.

The large probe will carry out a detailed sounding of the lower Venusian atmosphere and clouds.

The small probes will make measurements at widely separated points on the planet’s surface as they descend.

The bus will make upper atmospheric measurements prior to its entry burnup.

Round-the-clock efforts to beat nature to the finish line began about three months ago.

“When we saw that our job was tougher than expected, we decided to protect our scheduled launch time by adopting a seven-day-a-week program” Mr. Dorfman said.

“The assembly of the probes proved to be an especially difficult task,” explained Mal Meredith, associate program manager.

“An entire spacecraft’s worth of electronics and scientific instruments had to be squeezed into a pressure vessel sphere 1 ½ feet in diameter, in the case of the small probe, and 2 ½ feet in diameter for the large probe,” he said.

Two manufacturing teams were formed under the direction of Manufacturing Manager Jim Mercier, with the assistance of Tom Willadsen.

The first team was supervised by Ernie Morell and worked 12 hours a day, four days a week. The second team, under the supervision of Jack Dempsey, would work the next four days, 12 hours a day, when the first team would return.

Doug Dahl and Art Zapf provided the engineering support for these two teams.

“With this intense effort, assembly schedule were maintained, enabling the spacecraft to go to the next important phase of the program – integrated system testing. The success of this operation reflected an exceptional degree of coordination among manufacturing, engineering, and quality,” Mr. Meredith said.

“The personal sacrifice of this dedicated team to help Hughes meet this unchangeable deadline has been greatly appreciated,” Mr. Dorfman said.

S&CG captures $63 million contract for business satellites–Hughes News February 10, 1978 transcribed by Faith Macpherson

Will provide direct service

Hughes Aircraft is building three telecommunications satellites that will offer U.S. businesses and governmental agencies direct transmission of voice, printed matter, video, and high speed computer data.

The new spacecraft are being built for Satellite Business Systems (SBS) under a $63 million contract with Space and Communications Group’s Commercial Systems Division.

The contract, according to Al Owens, Hughes SBS Program manager, covers the spacecraft, apogee and perigee motors, and incentives for in-order performance as well as options for additional spacecraft.

The spacecraft will be the first U.S. domestic satellites to supply telecommunications services using higher frequency radio signals in the K-band, 12 to 14 GHz.

Compared to that of earlier communications satellites, the signal output strength of the SBS will be substantially larger, 20 watts instead of the usual five or six watts.

The stronger and higher frequency signals will enable SBS customers to transmit and receive satellite communications data through compact earth antennas, which will be mounted on the roofs or in parking lots of user offices.

Customers will be provided a full-service private network to handle intra-company communications faster and cheaper.

Covering the continental United States, spacecraft transmission beams will be electronically shaped to send the strongest signals to the more densely populated east-central and west coast regions of the country where SBS will install 5-meter antenna earth stations on user premises. Customers in most of the remainder of the country will be serviced through 7-meter antenna earth stations.

The superior communications performance in the Hughes proposal will allow SBS to use a greater proportion of 5-meter antennas than originally anticipated, according to SBS officials.

The SBS network will be an all-digital system and will feature time-division, multiple access, and demand assignment techniques.

The spacecraft design features an innovative telescoping solar panel which will deploy in space and double the prime power of the spin-stabilized spacecraft.

This feature also will reduce the space required for the solar panel aboard the Space Shuttle Orbiter launch vehicle, substantially lowering the launch costs of the satellite.





Intelsat V designs offer high reliability, low risk—Hughes News March 5, 1976


SCG submits two proposals

High performance, reliability and low technical risk are the key features of Space and Communications two proposed designs for the new Intelsat V series of global communications satellites for the 91-naiton Intelsat organization’s global satellite system for 1979.

Hughes is one of four aerospace companies that submitted proposals last October for development of the new satellites. HAC’s independent proposals call for spin-stabilized and three-axis stabilized spacecraft.

Intelsat owns the global system of Intelsat IV and IV-A telecommunications satellites in orbit over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. The Communications Satellite Corporation, management service contractor, has evaluated competitive bids for the new series and has forwarded its recommendation to Intelsat for review.

Vice President Albert Wheelon, SCG executive, said the two proposals are completely independent, yet both designs are responsive to Intelsat’s requirements.

“Both the spin-stabilized and body-stabilized configurations use a similar high performance communications payload based on improvements of the technology developed by Hughes,” Dr. Wheelon said.

The proposed spin-stabilized Intelsat V is a direct evolution from the previous IV and IV-A programs and many design choices have been made to preserve this similarity and to minimize risk, he added.

The body-stabilized configuration is a new design, but incorporated flight-proven equipment in design and construction.

“The basic structural, thermal and control system designs are a direct outgrowth of an extensive Hughes-funded internal development program devoted to producing maximum effectiveness and design of a three-axis spacecraft,” Dr. Wheelon said.

Overall, the Intelsat V communications payload is the dominant technical feature of both spacecraft configurations. Forty per cent of the program cost is related to the development and manufacture of the communications hardware, which would use approximately 50 per cent of all the high reliability parts.

“A notable feature of these payloads is the contiguous channel multiplexing concept that permits adjacent channels of the repeater to be multiplexed into the same antenna. This allows use of a single light weight antenna at the standard commercial (4 gHz) frequency for hemispheric and zone transmission,” Dr. Wheelon added.

The following comments were provided by Dick Brandes in response to Jack Fisher’s questions about the three-axis design:

It was a very serious effort. Initially, the only design was Rosen’s spinner. However, Wheelon was persuaded to also submit a 3-axis version that could show substantial growth capability. There was a view that Intelsat was determined to have a 3-axis design. A leading advocate of this approach was Warren Nichols. Steve Pilcher led the technical design, which used a momentum wheel and gyro control system. I believe Mike Houterman was the technical leader on the spinner, after Rosen, of course.

The initial Comsat evaluation had the Hughes spinner and 3-axis versions rated 1-2. However, after a series of re-bids that eliminated Lockheed and TRW, it became clear that the spinner would lose to Ford. The final bid was between the Hughes and Ford 3-axis designs, and Ford won with a price advantage of about $15 million.

This was a serious loss and bitter pill to Hughes. The overt manipulation that were openly revealed, led to demands by Hughes for guarantees of a one bid process on Intelsat VI.


Hughes Wins $72 Million Contract for the Intelsat IV–Hughes News November 1, 1968

Capacity of Hughes Satellite Dwarfs Its Predecessors

HAC has been awarded a $72 million contract to build four ot the world’s largest communications satellites, each having a potential communications volume 25 times greater than any satellite now in service and more capacity than the combined communications satellites now in operation.

The contract for the new Intelsat IV satellites was awarded by the Communications Satellite Corporation on behalf of the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium.

Sixth Generation

“The new spacecraft, 8 feet in diameter and nearly 18 feet high, will be designed to carry in excess of 5000 two-way telephone calls, transmit 12 color TV broadcasts simultaneously , or any combinaton of different kinds of communication transmission,” said Senior Vice President John H. Richardson, Aerospace Group executive.

The huge synchronous-orbit Intelsat IV will be the fifth generation of satellites built by Hughes since the tiny Syncom 2 was launched in 1963 to usher in the era of continuous satellite communications. The HAC satellite lineup includes the Early Bird, Intelsat II, tactical communications satellite, and two Applications Technology Satellites.

Intelsat will be able to focus power into two “spotlight” beams, which can be pointed at selected areas, providing stronger signal and more channel capacity in heavy communications traffic areas.

“For transatlantic transmission, the bems could be aimed at Western Europe and the eastern United States, or they could be used to link South America with Europe,” Mr. Richardson said. “In a north-sout lineup, North and South America could be linked.”

Steerable Antennas

The spotlight effect is made possible by two steerable dish antennas on the satellite which can be controlled on command from earth. The satellite could be moved anywhere along the equator and its antenna beams repositioned to point at selected areas.

Two other antennas on the satellite will provide communications coverage to areas outside the spotlight beams. Ground controllers will use electronic switching to adjust the power going into each of the two antenna systems.

The effective radiated power of up to 3000 watts per spot beam channel will permit many more ground stations to use the satellite, making less expensive satellite communications possible.

The satellite is scheduled for delivery in about two years, Mr. Richardson said It is designed for launch into a 22,300-mile synchronous orbit by a Titan-IIIB/Agena or Atlas-Centaur booster. The liftoff weight is expected to be 2452 pounds, and the satellite will be spin stabilized.

Foreign Nations Help

Companies from 10 member nations of Intelsat will participate extensively in the fabrication and testing of the satellites, Mr. Richardson said.

The first flight spacecraft and its subsystems will be built and tested at the El Segundo Site, with member-nation subcontractors participating. The second spacecraft will be assembled and tested at HAC, but most of the subsystems will be built by the subcontractors.

The third and fourth flight spacecraft will be assembled at British Aircraft Corporation in Bristol, England, using subsystems provided by the subcontractors. The two spacecraft will be shipped to Hughes for final testing.

Major subcontractors are in the United Kingdom, West Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, Italy, Sweden, Spain, France, and Canada.

HAC to Build Solar Orbiter; OSO to Be Oh So Advanced—Hughes News January 15, 1971 Transcribed by Faith Macpherson

Three Spacecraft Scheduled Under $22 Million Pact

The Orbiting Solar Observatory satellites HAC will build for NASA under a recently awarded $22 million contract will carry the most advanced experiments every designed in an effort to provide a better understanding of solar phenomena and their effects on earth.

That was the statement of Vice President Albert Wheelon, Space and Communications Group executive, after NASA announced that Hughes had won the contract from several other top-notch aerospace firms that competed vigorously for the prize five-year program.

Under the current contract, S&CG will build three OSO satellites, with the first scheduled for launch in mid-1973. The program is a follow-on to the OSO effort launched by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in 1959.

Sun Is Vital

The new class of satellites, however, will be far more sophisticated in design and capability and will carry more advanced experiments to meet NASA objectives for learning more about the sun, solar radiations, and their effects.

The sun is of paramount importance because it is the source of all the earth’s energy. Further understanding of the sun’s energy system could open up all kinds of scientific and practical possibilities.

One of the great scientific phenomena not yet understood is that the chromospheres, an irregular layer of gases extending outward from 3000 to 10,000 miles, varies in temperature from a minimum of 4500 degrees C to more than 20,000 degrees C in the outer limits.

The exact nature of this temperature change is fundamental to an understanding of the sun.

OSO will seek to explain how this heat transfer takes place by observing a comparatively tiny 10,000-mile portion or edge of the sun’s surface.

The difficulty of this task is considerable. The sun, 860,000 miles in diameter, when observed from earth has a visual angle of only one-half a degree. To accurately observe a 10,000 mile slice of the 860,000 miles will require a pointing accuracy of three arc seconds….20 times greater precision than provided by previous solar orbiters. This is comparable to pointing within an inch one mile away.

Other improvements to be included in the Hughes OSOs are: a satellite larger in size, weight, and power, with increased experiment data handling capacity.

The contract is of such consequence to Hughes that some of the experienced space program managers have been assigned to OSO.

Marriott in Charge

Ed Marriott, manager of NASA Applications Programs, has overall responsibility. Dick Bentley is the program manager, and Marv Mixon is the associate program manager.

Mr. Marriott headed the highly successful Applications Technology Program and Mr. Bentley was the program manager for Early Bird, the world’s first synchronous communications satellite, and had key roles in the development of its successors.

“This program represents a real technical challenge, the kind we like to get involved in here at Hughes,” Mr. Bentley said.

Mr. Mixon, with more than 17 years of experience in spacecraft and missile systems fields, was responsible for the OSO advanced program and proposal efforts since their inception almost a year ago.

“We’re very proud to win the OSO Program because it was a long, difficult effort during which scores of people here in Space and Communications made valuable contributions,” Mr. Mixon declared.

“During the peak effort on the initial proposal we had as many as 200 employees on the program. Then, following a lengthy oral presentation back at Goddard, we revised our proposal considerably to meet the customer’s new requirements.”

“Throughout this entire period there were five men who worked long and hard, doing an exceptionally fine job, both for the customer and the company.”

Names the Men

“John Bozajian was responsible for the vehicle design; Fred Hummel and Lynn Grasshoff had the attitude control system assignment, particularly difficult because of the pointing accuracy requirements; Chuck Agnew was responsible for the complex telemetry and command system, and Mal Meredith was the overall system engineer.”

“While the entire team obviously did an outstanding job, these men made particularly significant contributions.”


Space Systems Establishes Program Office for NASA Solar Satellite Competition—Hughes News May 1, 1970 Transcribed by Faith Macpherson

 A program office to direct the design and development of a new generation of Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO) satellites to continue investigation of the sun’s structure has been established at HAC.

Bob Roney, manager of Space Systems Division, said the company will compete with several other aerospace firms for the solar satellite program, which will have a potential value of about $40 million over the period of 5 years.

Three satellites will be built for the program. NASA has scheduled the first launch for mid-1973.

The new generation of satellites is a follow-on to the earlier OSO program initiated by the Goddard Space Flight Center in 1959. Six satellites have been launched, the most recent in August 1969. A seventh is scheduled for launch next year.

Improvements Slated

A number of significant improvements will be incorporated in the design of the new OSO series, Dr. Roney said.

These will include an increase in satellite size, weight, and power; experiment data handling capacity; and in pointing accuracy of the solar experiments. Seven experiments will be in the new satellite.

Previous OSO satellites provided pointing accuracies of 60 arc seconds (1/60th of a degree). The new series will require pointing accuracies of 3 arc seconds. This is the equivalent of attempting to aim a small telescope at a nickel from a mile away, he said.

The system also will provide means for scanning the sun’s disk and corona – stopping at a given point to measure specific phenomena, such as a flare or sunspot, he said.

Objectives Told

Objectives of the sun-synchronous satellites will be to obtain data to better understand the region between the disk of the sun and its atmosphere. This relatively narrow region where the chromosphere and corona meet is a region with certain peculiar properties.

In this limited region the disk, a relatively cool body of about 10,000 degrees F, is heating the corona, a hot body of several million degrees.

Knowledge of how this irregular procedure occurs will, it is hoped, lead to an understanding of how the sun’s energy is transported from the disk to the corona and then into the solar wind, Dr. Roney said.

SCG continues foreign participation—Hughes News February 6, 1976

On Intelsat V proposals

Continuing a precedence of international subcontracting for high technology space programs, Space and Communications Group announced it has incorporated proposals from subcontractors around the world in the competition for the Intelsat V series of global communications satellites proposed for the 91-nation Intelsat organization.

The Group has submitted two independent spacecraft proposals to the Communications Satellite Corporation (Comsat), management services contractor to Intelsat. One is for design, development, and manufacture of a spinner type spacecraft, the other for a three-axis body stabilized type. A contract award is expected to be announced later this year.

Vice President Albert Wheelon, Group executive, said the proposals are responsive to Intelsat’s desire for international participation on the new communication satellite series, planned to meet global telecommunications requirements through 1985.

“To this date we have issued over 140 requests for proposal to 23 subcontractors in ten nations, and responses to these solicitations have been received,” he said.

International companies and their scope of work included in the two Hughes proposals are:

Canada—Bristol Aerospace Ltd., filter components; Northern Electric Company, basic elements for the 6/6 GHz communications subsystem, power electronics and telemetry/command digital units.

France—Thompson-CSF, elements for the 6/4 GHz and 14/11 GHz communications subsystem plus 11 GHz traveling wave tubes.

Germany—Teldix, momentum wheels; Telefunken, elements for the 14/11 GHz communications subsystems and additional 11 GHz traveling wave tubes.

Italy—Selenia, antenna efforts associated with the 6/4 GHz and 14/11GHz communications subsystems.

Japan—Nippon Electric Company, traveling wave tube amplifiers and portions of the 14/11 GHz communications subsystems.

Spain—CESCA, basic electronics units.

United Kingdom—British Aircraft Corporation, work associated with structures, wire harnesses, battery packs, and solar cell arrays; Pilkington P.E. Ltd., solar cell cover slides.

The above international subcontract effort will exceed $25 million for the initial buy of seven spacecraft of either the spin stabilized or body stabilized configurations. Active reviews of additional international offerings are continuing, Dr. Wheelon added.

Citing the number of highly skilled companies throughout the world that have participated in the past with Hughes in successful spacecraft development, he said 13 individual subcontractors in 10 countries have supplied equipment now operating in space.

“This direct experience with Hughes was initiated in Intelsat II, extended on the Intelsat IV and IV-A Programs, and has been augmented in the Canadian domestic Anik satellite, Western Union’s Westar, Comsat General’s Comstar, and the Republic of Indonesia’s Palapa Program, all of which involve significant non-U. S. subcontracting,” Dr. Wheelon said.

“All of the work involved more than $64 million of successful international subcontracting on long-life communications satellites.”


Customers Opt for HAC Satellites Hughes News March 30, 1973

Intelsat Chooses Hughes to Build IV-A Spacecraft

The Board of Governors of Intelsat has approved a $72 million contract with HAC for three advanced synchronous communications satellites to be used beginning in mid-1976.

The contract will be administered by Comsat, acting as manager, on behalf of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization.

Designated the Intelsat IV-A series, the new satellite will have almost twice the communications capability of the present global system of Hughes-built Intelsat IV satellites operating over the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.

20 Transponders

The new satellites, derived from the highly successful Intelsat IV series, will have 20 transponders compared with 12 for the IVs.

Where the Intelsat IV satellites, which introduced the spot beam concept, are designed to use a maximum of eight transponders in spot beam mode, the IV-A satellites will be designed to use a maximum of 16 transponders in the spot beam mode. As with the IVs, the remaining transponders in the IV-As would be used in global mode coverage. In this mode, transponders are focused on an area a little larger than one third of the world. Spot beams concentrate a satellite’s power on smaller, selected areas with the satellites total coverage.

Frequency Reuse

In addition, the IV-A satellites will employ frequency reuse through spot beam separation, a concept not included in the IV spot beam capability. Beam separation permits communications to go in different directions on the same frequencies by using different transponders making double use of the same frequency.

The IV-As will make far more efficient use of the satellite communications frequency bands.

HAC Receives Basic Patent On Spin-Stabilized Satellites—Hughes News September 14, 1973

Invention by Don Williams

The U. S, Patent Office has issued a basic patent to Hughes Aircraft Company titled Velocity Control and Orientation of a Spin-stabilized Body, which covers attitude control of spin-stabilized satellites.

The patent, number 3,758,051, was awarded for an application filed Aug. 21, 1964, derived from an earlier application filed April 18, 1960.

The inventor was the late Don Williams, a Hughes engineer who worked on the early development of synchronous satellites, including Syncom II, the world’s first successful synchronous-orbit satellite, launched July 26, 1963. The same technology has been used on subsequent generations of communications satellites, including the current series of Intelsat IVs, five of which now provide worldwide satellite communications for telephony, color television, teletype, data and facsimile.

The invention achieves attitude control of spin-stabilized satellites by using synchronized gas pulses that apply the necessary reactive force to the satellite in a predetermined amount and direction to alter the spin axis alignment.