Affiliations: NASA Glenn Research Center, 21000 Brookpark Road, MS 54‐6, Cleveland, OH 44135, USA Tel.: +1 216 433 3431; Fax: +1 216 433 6371; E‐mail: [email protected] | Ohio University, Stocker Center 333, Athens, OH 45701‐2979, USA Tel.: +1 740 593 1566; Fax: +1 740 593 0007; E‐mail: [email protected]
Abstract: The Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) program was slated for decommissioning in October 2000 as was announced at the 6th Ka‐band Utilization Conference in May 2000. Quite a celebration was had at that event too, centering on the decommissioning of this very successful technology program . With plans in place to move the spacecraft to an orbital graveyard and then shut the system down, NASA was challenged to consider the feasibility of extending operations for education and research purposes, provided that an academic organization would be willing to cover operations costs. Continuing operations of the system was determined viable and in the fall of 2000, an announcement was made by NASA to consider extending operations. Plans are now in place to continue the operations of ACTS through a university‐based consortium led by Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Initial plans are for two more years of operations, with options to extend up to a total of four years. This paper will present the change in plans to continue operations of ACTS. A description of the multi‐month transition of the spacecraft to its new and final orbital location is provided. With the spacecraft at this new location, an update on its performance is presented as well as estimates of long‐term performance. The consortium development will be presented along with its organization, membership and operations plans for using ACTS.