Since the first Communications satellite "Early Bird" went into commercial service in 1965, the western nations' International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (Intelsat) has dominated the satellite communications field outside the Soviet Union.
GV EXT. Comsat building (2 shots)
CU Notice at entrance
SV & SV PAN INT. date storage machines operating (2 shots)
CU Electronic components being assembled
SV & CU Vibration tests on materials used in launch (4 shots)
GV & CU Vacuum chamber used for testing thermic effects on satellites (6 shots)
CU & SV Microphone operating in sound chamber used for testing satellite antenna (3 shots)
Initials SGM/1703 SGM/1630
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Since the first Communications satellite "Early Bird" went into commercial service in 1965, the western nations' International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (Intelsat) has dominated the satellite communications field outside the Soviet Union.
Management and U.S. representation in Intelsat is vested in Comsat, an all-American commercial company whose nerve - centre for research and development, the Comsat Laboratories near Washington, are the subject of this film. Comsat distributes its research and development work among a large number of countries, but control remains in American hands, and the Prime contractor is the American Hughes Aircraft Company.
Intelsat's global network of communications was completed when three satellites were in position to ring the globe, but although progress has been made there is still some way to go in developing earth stations and bringing down costs to make the communications system truly international.
European critics of the system have for long said the American hold on the system must be loosened for this to be achieved.
As things are at present, it can cost Visnews 3000 dollars, that's GBP1250 Sterling, to transmit ten minutes of film across the Atlantic. Hence whole populations, as Visnews Managing Director Mr. R. Waldman said in a recent statement, are still denied the full advantage of satellite communications.
SYNOPSIS: These are the Laboratories near Washington of Comsat, the American Corporation which manages the communication satellite operations of Intelsat. Intelsat is the consortium in which 80 nations participate, sharing the costs and research and development effort behind the western nations' world satellite communications system. The Soviet Union has a system of its own.
These Comsat laboratories employ 321 people in advanced research on the space-craft and satellites of the next decade, and on the development of existing satellites at present relaying telephones calls, telegram messages, television transmissions, and other data between earth stations in a growing number of countries around the world.
These laboratories cannot do all the work. Comsat contract some of it out to an international team of companies, working under the American Hughes Aircraft Company, the prime contractor. Ten of the other contractors are European, one Japanese, and one Canadian.
The investment in this international programme is immense, since the equipment required for the task is so costly. This is a huge vacuum chamber used for testing the effects in outer space of heat on operational satellites.
Members of Intelsat, created in 1964 on a five-year provisional basis, have been pressing for a more international operation than the present American-managed one, and this is closely linked to bringing the cost of satellite communications down.
For an international agency like Visnews, it can cost as much as three thousand American dollars, that's GBP1,250 Sterling, to transmit ten minutes of film across the Atlantic. Hence costs still hinder rapid development of the system. Both President Nixon and the U.S. space Agency Chief have stressed in recent years their interest in wider international participation in the U.S. space programme. This could be of most benefit, developing countries have been quick to point out, in the field of communications satellites, a space activity of great immediate value to mankind.