Hughes Network Systems
In the private sector, SSPI recognizes Hughes Network Systems for the development and initial deployment of the Spaceway 3 satellite. Built by Boeing and launched on August 15 aboard an Arianespace 5 rocket, Spaceway 3 is a next-generation, Ka-band satellite that is the first in the world to employ on-board traffic switching and routing capability. It is also the first commercial realization of fixed satellite service technology foreshadowed in the ACTS experimental satellite launched by NASA in 1993. With 10 Gbps of overall capacity - 5 to 8 times that of today's Ku-band satellites - it employs fast-packet switching, dynamic beam forming and other advances to make possible bandwidth-on-demand services with true site-to-site, single-hop networking. Hughes will use the satellite, which entered service in January 2008 at 95 degrees W., to deliver next-generation HughesNet managed network services to North American users with ground antennas of 1 meter or less.
Edusat and Mindset Networks
In the nonprofit sector, SSPI issues a joint award to two projects that are using satellite communications to transform education on national and international levels.
Edusat is a collaborative project of the Indian Satellite Research Organization, the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, state departments of education and the Indira Gandhi National Open University. The first satellite designed exclusively to serve the educational sector, it provides five Ku-band transponders with spot beams covering multiple regions of India, another Ku transponder providing an all-country footprint, and six C-band transponders with an all-country footprint. Edusat began operations in July 2005 by connecting 15 training centers and 50 government schools in the state of Kerala and went national later that year. The diversity of spot beams permits educational material to be broadcast in all 18 of India's official languages and to be received through a low-cost terminal (about US$65). By March 2006, the program covered more than 1,000 schools and now reaches 30,000 primary and secondary schools across India. Education is a top priority for the Indian government, which seeks to expand its small but fast-growing IT sector in order to build a knowledge-based economy. Conventional approaches using traditional schooling concepts were considered too slow by the Indian Government to achieve its goals.
Mindset Network is a South African nonprofit organization that develops and distributes quality educational resources for use in the education, health and vocational sectors. It is a far-reaching, country-changing project, which creates resources and delivers free educational material via satellite broadcasts with supporting multimedia material in print and on the Internet. Since its inception in 2002, Mindset has transmitted content directly to over 1.5 million households in sub-Saharan Africa and to 1,250 schools and 307 health clinics and hospitals in South Africa. Funded by South African business leaders and Intelsat, the service is free-to-air and available regardless of terrestrial infrastructure. It represents, in historical terms, an extension of the mid-1980s Intelsat Project Share educational programs. Because of Mindset, educational and healthcare professionals are becoming more knowledgeable and in turn educating the next generation, which ultimately is creating social change.
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