Posted: Friday, June 8, 2001
Santiago Astrain was awarded the first Arthur C. Clarke Foundation lifetime achievement award Tuesday night. The award was presented to Mr. Astrain during the Werhner von Braun Memorial Lecture, a program held at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.
Astrain's career in telecommunications began in Santiago, Chile as an engineer where, among many other accomplishments, he developed the first earth station for satellite telecommunications in South America. As his knowledge, vision and talent grew, he became well recognized in the field of satellite telecommunications. Astrain joined Intelsat in 1972, when he was named its first Secretary General. He served as Secretary General for four years, until he was appointed the first Director General of Intelsat in 1976. In this position, Mr. Astrain wrote about the many new technologies and services he foresaw being developed in the 1980s and 1990s.
"Mr. Astrain was one of the first people to help with the creation of Intelsat, the first international organization to facilitate satellite telecommunications worldwide," said John McLucas, Chairman of the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation of the United States. "He was instrumental in taking Sir Arthur C. Clarke's 1945 vision of geostationary satellites and making it the technological reality that now connects the people and countries of the world. In a very real sense, Astrain made Clarke's science fiction science fact."
"We are honored to present Mr. Astrain with this award," said Ramu Potarazu, Vice President of Global Operations and Chief Technology Officer of Intelsat. "During this important time at Intelsat, with our privatization scheduled for 18 July, it enriches our history further to present the award to Mr. Astrain since he played such an enormous role in the development not only of satellite telecommunications, but also of Intelsat itself. The entire Intelsat team joins me in offering our congratulations."
Intelsat is an international communications provider offering Internet, broadcast, telephony and corporate network solutions around the globe through its fleet of 19 satellites. For nearly four decades, many of the world's leading telecommunications companies, multinational corporations and broadcasters in more than 200 countries and territories have relied on Intelsat satellites and staff for quality connections, global reach and reliability.
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