Technologies and issues in the emerging field of mobile satellite communications will be the focus of three- day conference sponsored by NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

More than 250 participants from 10 countries are expected at the conference May 3-5, 1988, at the Pasadena Hilton Hotel, Pasadena, Calif. In addition to technological developments supporting mobile satellite systems, conferees will discuss domestic and international regulation and potential uses in variety of fields.

Somewhat similar to cellular telephone systems in urban areas, mobile satellite systems would provide communication links for users in land vehicles, aircraft or ships in remote locations.

While cellular systems use transponders on Earth- mounted towers to relay telephone calls, that function is handled in mobile satellite system by an orbiting satellite. Such system would be able to relay digital data in addition to voice calls.

Among efforts in the United States, JPL conducts the Mobile Satellite Experiment (MSAT-X) for the Communications and Information Systems Division of NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications. Technologies being developed under MSAT-X include steerable vehicle antennas, mobile radios, and network management and multiple-access schemes.

NASA plans to seek cooperative agreements with an industry consortium that would build and operate one or more satellites to be launched beginning in the early 1990s. In exchange for launch services, the space agency would conduct technology validation experiments using small percentage of satellite capacity for the first two years of operation.

In addition to the U.S. work, the May conference will include overviews of programs in Australia, Canada and Europe to establish mobile satellite systems as well as efforts to develop international standards.

More information on conference attendance is available from the Mobile Satellite Conference Organizing Committee, Mail Stop 238-420, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena CA 91109, or by telephone from Lynn Polite, (818) 354-0455.

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