In its application to launch and operate a satellite in the 107.3 degrees West orbital slot, Hughes Network Systems discusses its past experience as being a major asset to securing the licence. The following is an edited excerpt of its application to the department explaining its strengths, technical and operations expertise in deploying satellite networks. From its genesis in 1993, Spaceway has been designed as a high-speed, information highway for advanced two-way satellite broadband communications, a platform designed to meet the needs of individual and commercial users through small and affordable transmit/receive antennas. The system represents a significant departure from previous satellite systems, as it offers a serious competitive alternative to terrestrial broadband communications. The first of three North American Spaceway satellites will begin service in the first half of 2003. Following the launch of the North American satellites, Hughes will launch further satellites to serve Europe, Asia and Latin America. In1997, the FCC authorized Hughes Communications Galaxy Inc. (HCGI) to launch and operate the Spaceway system to provide fixed-satellite services in the Ka-band in the 100 degrees and 90 degrees orbital slots. The satellites to be launched at those orbit locations are currently being manufactured at Boeing Satellite Systems facilities. Since the Spaceway satellites are already under construction, it will be able to meet the April 25, 2004 deadline. Resources and expertise Hughes’ performance in the satellite industry is attributable in large part to the capabilities and experience of its vast engineering resources. As of October 1, 2001, approximately 1,500 specialists were dedicated full-time to the design and construction of the space and ground segments for Spaceway. Hughes, through the business development group of HCGI, developed and launched the Galaxy satellite network serving North America. Galaxy 1, 2 and 3 were launched during the early 1980’s and formed the initial elements of Hughes’ commercial satellite system. These vehicles provided C-band television services, as well as audio and business telecommunications services. The system was complemented in 1988, and upgraded during the 1990s with new Galaxy satellites operating in the Ku-band. Similarly, Hughes Communications, Inc., the parent of HCGI, developed, launched and operated the DirecTV satellite system in its initial phase. HCGI’s competence to develop, launch and operate satellite networks is clearly demonstrated by the years of experience and the numerous services the company has provided over the existing fleet of Galaxy satellites and the significant investments it has made in the last decades on C- and Ku-band and recently in the Ka-band system. With regard to the Ka-band Spaceway system, HCGI designed the system and secured the FCC licence. HNS has subsequently taken the responsibility for the detailed system design and contract management of the Spaceway space station, the satellite control facilities, satellite payload interface and implementation of the Spaceway business. HNS is deploying substantial resources to simultaneously develop the ground segment of the system, its satellite terminals and its centres of operation and control. In 2000, HNS added DirecWay with two-way satellite return capability to its high-speed satellite Internet service. This allows consumers, to access the Internet completely independent of the dial-up telephone network. Furthermore, HNS holds earth stations licensces granted by the FCC for more than 2,800,000 earth stations in C and Ku-band in continental and non continental United States, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FCC has granted "blanket licences" to operate consumer satellite terminals in Ku-band, many central hubs and experimental licensces for Ka-band terminal testing. With its authorization to test and monitor Ka-band earth station performance, HNS has developed test equipment to measure transmission and reception frequencies. The Ka-band antennas are being tested 24 hours per day, measuring gain variations based on weather conditions. HNS will continue the testing through 2002 until the first satellite launch, and will repeat this testing with additional vendor antennas.