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  • An overview of satellite communications, both past and in the future

    Paper ID



    • W.E. Morrow Jr


    Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Laboratory






    Ever since the time of Marconi’s original transatlantic radio transmission, communication engineers have attempted to improve the quality and quantity of circuits and to extend them to greater and greater distances. Early efforts to extend communication distance and capacity involved the use of radio wave propagation around the curvature of the Earth by means of various natural phenomena, such as reflection or scattering from the troposphere or ionosphere. A number of years ago the possibility of using artificial Earth satellites to act as radio wave reflectors or active repeaters was investigated by early workers in this field, such as CLARKE and PIERCE. These workers realized that the use of Earth satellites offered the possibility of high reliability, line of sight radio wave propagation for long distance communication. With properly chosen frequencies in the microwave frequency region, such circuits could be designed to have extremely high reliability and are not subject to vagaries of nature typical of high frequency ionospheric transmission.