Satellite Technology Aids Remote Recovery Efforts For Space Shuttle Columbia Debris

Press Release From: Hughes Network Systems
Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Working with a recovery field that spans a 100-mile radius, federal and local authorities in Texas are relying on advanced mobile satellite technology from Hughes Network Systems to play a critical role in remote recovery efforts for debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Through Ground Control Systems, two mobile satellite communications units were deployed in east Texas last week. One is stationed in Hemphill, Texas and the other is in Lufkin, Texas, approximately 57 miles away. Officials are using the equipment to link remote workers to the debris-search command center, and to provide search authorities with access to the Internet via two- way, high-speed broadband connectivity. Using the Web, searchers will digitize debris images and catalogue retrieved material to create a database of information.

Given the remote location of the many east Texas areas covered in the search, satellite was the only possible network technology capable of providing authorities with quick broadband connectivity. Traditional, ground- based "terrestrial" networks do not reach these areas, nor can be deployed in an emergency scenario.

Ground Control Systems, a Hughes Network Systems resale partner, moved quickly to provide search authorities with the networked connectivity they required.

"We got the call and within 24 hours we had the systems up and running," said Tony Coles, president and CEO of Ground Control. "We equipped them with Hughes Network Systems' DIRECWAY® 4000 technology solution, which is designed for users that need a fast, always-on broadband solution."

The DIRECWAY 4000 includes a four-port 10/100 base T Ethernet hub and incorporates a fast, self-hosted processor, eliminating the need for a dedicated host PC. It operates independently of the networked computers, yielding overall greater network reliability and robustness. In addition, the DW4000 supports multiple platforms; thereby increasing the reach of DIRECWAY from Windows based computers to Unix, MAC and others.

About Ground Control

Ground Control ( is a leading provider of mobile and fixed satellite Internet access and application solutions for business. Ground Control delivers equipment services and support via the HNS DIRECWAY satellite and content delivery network, all backed by its world-class technical professionals. Ground Control provides businesses with cutting-edge Internet resources and the ability to deploy, manage, and scale mission- critical Internet operations for optimum performance and cost efficiency.

About Hughes Network Systems

Hughes Network Systems, Inc. (HNS), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hughes Electronics Corporation (HUGHES), is the world's leading provider of broadband satellite network solutions for businesses and consumers, with more than 500,000 systems ordered or shipped to customers in 85 countries. HNS pioneered the development of high-speed satellite Internet access services, which it markets globally under the DIRECWAY® brand. In addition, HNS is a leading manufacturer of DIRECTV® satellite television receivers, having shipped more than 10 million systems to date. Headquartered outside Washington, D.C., in Germantown, Maryland, USA, HNS maintains sales and support offices worldwide. The earnings of HUGHES, a unit of General Motors Corporation, are used to calculate the earnings attributable to the General Motors Class H common stock. To learn more about HNS, please visit .

HUGHES, Hughes Network Systems and DIRECWAY are trademarks of Hughes Electronics Corporation. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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