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== About Sajjad Durrani  ==
 
== About Sajjad Durrani  ==
  
<p>Sajjad Durrani got his engineering degree in Lahore in 1949, his masters in the UK in transmission system analysis in 1952, and his PhD from the University of New Mexico. He switched from an early interest to power transmission to space communications. He taught engineering in Pakistan in the 1950s and in America in the 1960s worked at the RCA Space Center. He worked at NASA 1974-92, alternating his time at NASA between the HQ and Goddard. His career includes work on the Advanced Communication Technology Satellite, the Orbiting Data Relay Network, work as planning manager for the ground systems of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, INTELSAT and COMSAT, planning a broadcasting satellite system, system analysis and planning at NASA, Research and Planning Manager of NASCOM division within Goddard, and program manager in the Advanced Systems Office, of the Office of Space Communications. After his retirement he worked for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) as a consulting engineer on their contracts with Goddard. He has also recently worked for the UN Development Program in Pakistan, helping the Pakistani space program. He has been involved with the [[IEEE History|IEEE]] and the AESS for several decades, with particular interest in education issues—continuing education for engineers and engineering education in the high and middle schools. He discusses major tends and events in space communications history. </p>
+
Sajjad Durrani got his engineering degree in Lahore in 1949, his masters in the UK in transmission system analysis in 1952, and his PhD from the University of New Mexico. He switched from an early interest to power transmission to space communications. He taught engineering in Pakistan in the 1950s and in America in the 1960s worked at the RCA Space Center. He worked at NASA 1974-92, alternating his time at NASA between the HQ and Goddard. His career includes work on the Advanced Communication Technology Satellite, the Orbiting Data Relay Network, work as planning manager for the ground systems of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, INTELSAT and COMSAT, planning a broadcasting satellite system, system analysis and planning at NASA, Research and Planning Manager of NASCOM division within Goddard, and program manager in the Advanced Systems Office, of the Office of Space Communications. After his retirement he worked for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) as a consulting engineer on their contracts with Goddard. He has also recently worked for the UN Development Program in Pakistan, helping the Pakistani space program. He has been involved with the [[IEEE History|IEEE]] and the AESS for several decades, with particular interest in education issues—continuing education for engineers and engineering education in the high and middle schools. He discusses major tends and events in space communications history.  
  
 
== About the Interview  ==
 
== About the Interview  ==
  
<p>SAJJAD H. DURRANI: An Interview Conducted by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, 20 August 1999 </p>
+
SAJJAD H. DURRANI: An Interview Conducted by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, 20 August 1999  
  
<p>Interview # 357 For the IEEE History Center The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. </p>
+
Interview # 357 For the IEEE History Center The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.  
  
 
== Copyright Statement  ==
 
== Copyright Statement  ==
  
<p>This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center. </p>
+
This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.  
  
<p>Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user. </p>
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Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, 39 Union Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8538 USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.  
  
<p>It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: Sajjad H. Durrani, an oral history conducted in 1999 by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA. </p>
+
It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: Sajjad H. Durrani, an oral history conducted in 1999 by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.  
  
 
== Interview  ==
 
== Interview  ==
  
<p>INTERVIEW: Sajjad H. Durrani<br>INTERVIEWER: Michael Geselowitz<br>DATE: 20 August 1999<br>PLACE: Olney, Maryland<br><br> </p>
+
INTERVIEW: Sajjad H. Durrani<br>INTERVIEWER: Michael Geselowitz<br>DATE: 20 August 1999<br>PLACE: Olney, Maryland<br><br>  
  
 
=== Power systems in Pakistan. Teaching Power transmission and distribution.  ===
 
=== Power systems in Pakistan. Teaching Power transmission and distribution.  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>We were talking about what you did after you received your engineering degree in Lahore in 1949, just after Pakistan’s independence. </p>
+
We were talking about what you did after you received your engineering degree in Lahore in 1949, just after Pakistan’s independence.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Most of the emphasis was on power systems in those days. They were building a new grid system. I went and worked on setting up substations in a couple of places. Then I got an offer to teach at the school from where I had just graduated. I had been something like number two in the graduating class. I taught there for a year or two. </p>
+
Most of the emphasis was on power systems in those days. They were building a new grid system. I went and worked on setting up substations in a couple of places. Then I got an offer to teach at the school from where I had just graduated. I had been something like number two in the graduating class. I taught there for a year or two.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>What did you teach there? </p>
+
What did you teach there?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>I taught power transmission and distribution. I don’t know how much personal detail you want, but when I did my B.A. India still had some British professors, and we had been disciplined rather well. I was in the University Officers Training Corps, where you have your shoes polished all the time and so forth. I was trying to get into some British school, and I applied for a Rhodes Scholarship. I was a finalist, but they said, “The last couple of years we have given that scholarship to a West Pakistani, so this year we will give it to an East Pakistani,” so I lost out on that. But a few months later I got this other scholarship which was a state scholarship to go to England and study there. My association was closer to England than with the U.S., and that’s why I went to England. I got my Master's there also in transmission system analysis, and my Master's thesis was on building an analyzer for simulating a power system. That was in l951-52 when there were no computers, and you had to do it all by analog simulation. I went back to Pakistan to teach after the scholarship was finished, because I was given that scholarship with the understanding, or condition, that I would go back to teach for five years. During the summer and some time after finishing the Master's degree in England I was working with some companies, and I enjoyed that. While I was teaching back in Pakistan, I went to Sweden for a few months during summer vacation, and added another month or so. There were hydroelectric power stations being built high up there near the Arctic Circle. </p>
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I taught power transmission and distribution. I don’t know how much personal detail you want, but when I did my B.A. India still had some British professors, and we had been disciplined rather well. I was in the University Officers Training Corps, where you have your shoes polished all the time and so forth. I was trying to get into some British school, and I applied for a Rhodes Scholarship. I was a finalist, but they said, “The last couple of years we have given that scholarship to a West Pakistani, so this year we will give it to an East Pakistani,” so I lost out on that. But a few months later I got this other scholarship which was a state scholarship to go to England and study there. My association was closer to England than with the U.S., and that’s why I went to England. I got my Master's there also in transmission system analysis, and my Master's thesis was on building an analyzer for simulating a power system. That was in l951-52 when there were no computers, and you had to do it all by analog simulation. I went back to Pakistan to teach after the scholarship was finished, because I was given that scholarship with the understanding, or condition, that I would go back to teach for five years. During the summer and some time after finishing the Master's degree in England I was working with some companies, and I enjoyed that. While I was teaching back in Pakistan, I went to Sweden for a few months during summer vacation, and added another month or so. There were hydroelectric power stations being built high up there near the Arctic Circle.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>During this time were you still doing mathematical modeling and analog computer simulation? </p>
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During this time were you still doing mathematical modeling and analog computer simulation?  
  
 
=== Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico  ===
 
=== Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico  ===
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>I was mostly teaching, and wasn’t doing much research. That was one reason why I didn’t want to stick around too long. I wanted to go to the U.S., get a Ph.D., and do some R&amp;D, rather than merely teaching. I was still in power systems and power analysis. I went to visit some of the power stations, including the next one that was being developed for the Pakistan Power Authority. One year I went to Germany, because I was interested in languages. Earlier, I had taken four years of evening classes. I was pretty good in German, and we had a couple of visiting German teachers. I went to the Goethe Institute. They have branches all around the world. That’s where I met my wife. She was also studying German there. She is from Finland. </p>
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I was mostly teaching, and wasn’t doing much research. That was one reason why I didn’t want to stick around too long. I wanted to go to the U.S., get a Ph.D., and do some R&amp;D, rather than merely teaching. I was still in power systems and power analysis. I went to visit some of the power stations, including the next one that was being developed for the Pakistan Power Authority. One year I went to Germany, because I was interested in languages. Earlier, I had taken four years of evening classes. I was pretty good in German, and we had a couple of visiting German teachers. I went to the Goethe Institute. They have branches all around the world. That’s where I met my wife. She was also studying German there. She is from Finland.  
  
<p>Then when I applied for scholarships in the U.S., I applied to Illinois, the University of New Mexico and one or two other places. The University of New Mexico was the first one that gave me an offer, which was a teaching assistantship along with my Ph.D. studies, so I accepted that. However, they had very little emphasis on power at the University of New Mexico. They had one or two courses, and the rest was communications and antennas. One of our professors had received a grant for an R&amp;D project from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Also, [[Sputnik|Sputnik]] had happened just two years before that. That’s why I got interested in communications and space communications. I did some work on that NRL project with our professor, and got my Ph.D. in antennas and related topics. </p>
+
Then when I applied for scholarships in the U.S., I applied to Illinois, the University of New Mexico and one or two other places. The University of New Mexico was the first one that gave me an offer, which was a teaching assistantship along with my Ph.D. studies, so I accepted that. However, they had very little emphasis on power at the University of New Mexico. They had one or two courses, and the rest was communications and antennas. One of our professors had received a grant for an R&amp;D project from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Also, [[Sputnik|Sputnik]] had happened just two years before that. That’s why I got interested in communications and space communications. I did some work on that NRL project with our professor, and got my Ph.D. in antennas and related topics.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>When did you come to the United States? </p>
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When did you come to the United States?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>In ’59. </p>
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In ’59.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>And if the membership records are correct, you had already joined AIEE in 1957. </p>
+
And if the membership records are correct, you had already joined AIEE in 1957.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Yes, maybe 1955. I had been a member from Pakistan. </p>
+
Yes, maybe 1955. I had been a member from Pakistan.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You had heard of the [[AIEE History 1884-1963|AIEE]] in Pakistan. Did you join it in order to get the publications? </p>
+
You had heard of the [[AIEE History 1884-1963|AIEE]] in Pakistan. Did you join it in order to get the publications?  
  
 
=== Returned to teaching at his old university in Pakistan.  ===
 
=== Returned to teaching at his old university in Pakistan.  ===
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Well, the library already had the publications. It was primarily just that I’m a joiner. Then in the U.S., after I got my Ph.D., I went to work for General Electric (GE). I was interested in space work, but at that time you had to have citizenship before you could do that. I had a Green Card, but I didn’t have citizenship yet. GE had R&amp;D going on in their mobile communications field, which I thought was a good area, so I worked there for a couple of years. Then I got called back to my old university in Lahore. The whole school had been upgraded. Instead of being part of the university system and granting only Bachelor’s degree, they became a full-scale university and they were going to have Master's courses and ultimately Ph.D. courses. They said, “We need you to come back and put that program on a good, solid footing.” So I went back there in ’64. I became Department Chairman for Electrical Engineering in the new university, (which was the old school upgraded). As a department chair, as you know, you have more administrative work and less research work. Also, because it was new, they hadn’t gotten any real research started. A few faculty members were still being prepared to go abroad and get Master's degrees and Ph.D.s and come back. I spent most of my time meeting with the Vice Chancellor or the Registrar and faculty committees, and I didn’t especially enjoy that. Also we had a lot of new proposals to write up, for equipment and so on, which would come through the UN or some other outfit. There were treaties between Pakistan and the U.S., an aid program, South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), and I don’t remember what else. We got some money that way, but it was a slow process. </p>
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Well, the library already had the publications. It was primarily just that I’m a joiner.  
 +
 
 +
<flashmp3>357 - durrani - clip 1.mp3</flashmp3>
 +
 
 +
Then in the U.S., after I got my Ph.D., I went to work for General Electric (GE). I was interested in space work, but at that time you had to have citizenship before you could do that. I had a Green Card, but I didn’t have citizenship yet. GE had R&amp;D going on in their mobile communications field, which I thought was a good area, so I worked there for a couple of years. Then I got called back to my old university in Lahore. The whole school had been upgraded. Instead of being part of the university system and granting only Bachelor’s degree, they became a full-scale university and they were going to have Master's courses and ultimately Ph.D. courses. They said, “We need you to come back and put that program on a good, solid footing.” So I went back there in ’64. I became Department Chairman for Electrical Engineering in the new university, (which was the old school upgraded). As a department chair, as you know, you have more administrative work and less research work. Also, because it was new, they hadn’t gotten any real research started. A few faculty members were still being prepared to go abroad and get Master's degrees and Ph.D.s and come back. I spent most of my time meeting with the Vice Chancellor or the Registrar and faculty committees, and I didn’t especially enjoy that. Also we had a lot of new proposals to write up, for equipment and so on, which would come through the UN or some other outfit. There were treaties between Pakistan and the U.S., an aid program, South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), and I don’t remember what else. We got some money that way, but it was a slow process.  
  
 
=== Joining the RCA Space Center  ===
 
=== Joining the RCA Space Center  ===
  
<p>In the meantime, one of my old professors, who had moved from New Mexico to Kansas State University, said, “If you’re interested, you could come over and teach here.” I was interested in going there for three months just to keep refreshed, but he said, “No, if you come here you’ll have to be here a whole year. I can’t do all the paperwork for just three months,” so I ended up just staying on. I was interested in space work, so after that I applied to the RCA Space Center and got accepted there. And they were just starting their center near Princeton, in Hightstown, New Jersey. The center was established in ’65 or ’66. I joined them in ’66, and stayed with them two and a half years. At RCA, most of the work was meteorological satellites and some communication satellite studies. One of the studies was the Orbiting Data Relay Network. The thing that brought me to NASA was that NASA-Goddard had given two contracts – one to us, and the other went to Lockheed, I think. We had a very good team there at New Jersey. Two of the managers later on moved over to NASA. One was Dick Marsten, who is still a member of some [[IEEE History|IEEE]] committees; earlier he was on the board of the AESS Society. He’s an MIT graduate and is retired now. Then a couple of other people moved over to NASA headquarters and started working there. Most of the recommendations from that Orbiting Data Relay Network study got accepted by NASA, and they later started building this, which is now known as the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRS System), a satellite system. In the meantime, COMSAT had been established a few years before. They were doing state-of-the-art work, just like Bell Labs did for AT&amp;T. I interviewed with the head of a group called Systems Lab. He had come to COMSAT from Lincoln Labs. He brought me in first as a member and later as a manager of the System Analysis branch. They were going to build it up gradually, starting from the ground up. </p>
+
In the meantime, one of my old professors, who had moved from New Mexico to Kansas State University, said, “If you’re interested, you could come over and teach here.” I was interested in going there for three months just to keep refreshed, but he said, “No, if you come here you’ll have to be here a whole year. I can’t do all the paperwork for just three months,” so I ended up just staying on. I was interested in space work, so after that I applied to the RCA Space Center and got accepted there. And they were just starting their center near Princeton, in Hightstown, New Jersey. The center was established in ’65 or ’66. I joined them in ’66, and stayed with them two and a half years. At RCA, most of the work was meteorological satellites and some communication satellite studies. One of the studies was the Orbiting Data Relay Network. The thing that brought me to NASA was that NASA-Goddard had given two contracts – one to us, and the other went to Lockheed, I think. We had a very good team there at New Jersey. Two of the managers later on moved over to NASA. One was Dick Marsten, who is still a member of some [[IEEE History|IEEE]] committees; earlier he was on the board of the AESS Society. He’s an MIT graduate and is retired now. Then a couple of other people moved over to NASA headquarters and started working there. Most of the recommendations from that Orbiting Data Relay Network study got accepted by NASA, and they later started building this, which is now known as the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRS System), a satellite system. In the meantime, COMSAT had been established a few years before. They were doing state-of-the-art work, just like Bell Labs did for AT&amp;T. I interviewed with the head of a group called Systems Lab. He had come to COMSAT from Lincoln Labs. He brought me in first as a member and later as a manager of the System Analysis branch. They were going to build it up gradually, starting from the ground up.  
  
 
=== COMSAT  ===
 
=== COMSAT  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>This was satellite communication? </p>
+
This was satellite communication?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Satellite communication, yes. </p>
+
Satellite communication, yes.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>For civilian or military? </p>
+
For civilian or military?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>What COMSAT was doing was for civilians. NASA’s program was also for civilians and NASA’s own satellites. Let me tell you a couple of things about the TDRS. It’s a satellite that sits in a stationary orbit and looks at all the scientific and meteorological satellites in low-altitude earth orbits, and meteorological satellites that have the capability of communicating with it. Instead of having an earth-bound tracking network, as NASA had in the beginning with fourteen or sixteen stations around the world and ships in some ocean areas, we eliminated all that and simply had these three satellites sitting at geostationary altitude and tracking the low-altitude satellites. Actually it could be done with two geostationary satellites, because the "user" satellites are not at the surface of the earth. They are several hundred miles above. And so two satellites in stationary orbit can cover 85 percent of the orbiting user satellites. That system was developed in the ‘70s and became operational in the '80s. The work that COMSAT was doing was for the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (INTELSAT). COMSAT was the system manager for INTELSAT for many years until the late ‘70s, when INTELSAT set up its own headquarters in downtown Washington. But before that, they had only a skeleton staff and COMSAT did all the technical work as well as the contract work, got the satellites built, and got them launched and so on. Our System Lab in COMSAT Labs developed the concepts for improving the future generations of INTELSAT. For instance the first one was an Early Bird, a very tiny satellite. If you like to look at some of those pictures, I’m sure your History Center has all of them in its library. James Martin has a book from the 1970s and all those pictures of early satellites are in it. All the next generations were bigger and bigger. So the first satellite, the Early Bird was in ’65, and then the INTELSAT-2 was only for NASA’s use. INTELSAT-3 had more capacity but was not much bigger, but INTELSAT-4 was being developed at that time (1968-69); it was quite large and complex, and the follow-ups, INTELSAT-5 and so on, were even bigger and more powerful. </p>
+
What COMSAT was doing was for civilians. NASA’s program was also for civilians and NASA’s own satellites. Let me tell you a couple of things about the TDRS. It’s a satellite that sits in a stationary orbit and looks at all the scientific and meteorological satellites in low-altitude earth orbits, and meteorological satellites that have the capability of communicating with it. Instead of having an earth-bound tracking network, as NASA had in the beginning with fourteen or sixteen stations around the world and ships in some ocean areas, we eliminated all that and simply had these three satellites sitting at geostationary altitude and tracking the low-altitude satellites. Actually it could be done with two geostationary satellites, because the "user" satellites are not at the surface of the earth. They are several hundred miles above. And so two satellites in stationary orbit can cover 85 percent of the orbiting user satellites. That system was developed in the ‘70s and became operational in the '80s. The work that COMSAT was doing was for the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (INTELSAT). COMSAT was the system manager for INTELSAT for many years until the late ‘70s, when INTELSAT set up its own headquarters in downtown Washington. But before that, they had only a skeleton staff and COMSAT did all the technical work as well as the contract work, got the satellites built, and got them launched and so on. Our System Lab in COMSAT Labs developed the concepts for improving the future generations of INTELSAT. For instance the first one was an Early Bird, a very tiny satellite. If you like to look at some of those pictures, I’m sure your History Center has all of them in its library. James Martin has a book from the 1970s and all those pictures of early satellites are in it. All the next generations were bigger and bigger. So the first satellite, the Early Bird was in ’65, and then the INTELSAT-2 was only for NASA’s use. INTELSAT-3 had more capacity but was not much bigger, but INTELSAT-4 was being developed at that time (1968-69); it was quite large and complex, and the follow-ups, INTELSAT-5 and so on, were even bigger and more powerful.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>COMSAT was and is here in the D.C. area? </p>
+
COMSAT was and is here in the D.C. area?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>COMSAT was at that time. The headquarters is still near DC, in Bethesda, Maryland. Initially in ’68 when I joined them, the labs were on “L” Street, but they were building their facilities out in Clarksburg, which is a little north of Germantown and Gaithersburg. These towns are all in Maryland, along Route 270. Fairchild had good facilities there, and a couple of other aerospace companies were building there, so COMSAT built their labs there. It’s an impressive lab. They don’t give tours nowadays, but they hold open house a couple of times a year. It’s a nice facility. Bill Pritchard, who used to be the director of the lab, Assistant V.P., recently passed away. He was one of the pioneers. He used to be with Aerospace Corporation and also spent some time in Italy on some projects for the Navy, I think. Then he came to COMSAT, and he had Burt Edelson as his assistant director. Burt Edelson later became An Associate Administrator of NASA and then became associated with George Washington University. GWU has a small institute for space applications research, and Burt is its Director. In those days satellite communications was pretty heady stuff, because it was new. Things that we worked on very often resulted in a splash in the newspaper. For example, a little before I joined COMSAT, the Tokyo Olympics were covered by one of the INTELSAT satellites in 1964. Everyone was excited. They said, “Worldwide distribution of the news, live coverage, very unusual.” A year or two later with INTELSAT-4 and later on with INTELSAT-5, new services allowed major corporations to receive private data through worldwide satellites. Then the Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) were developed, which enabled almost every business to use satellites instead of terrestrial networks for long-distance communications. Things are now becoming commonplace which were unique and difficult in those days. I got into system analysis and planning because, number one, I like math, and number two, my father, a lawyer, instilled in me the importance of looking at all aspects of things, and not just one tiny part. When people brought legal cases in front of him, he had to look at both sides of the argument. I found system engineering is a good thing, and I didn’t really become a specialist in, say, power or a specialist in antennas. I did a little of antennas, a little of communication, a little of other things. </p>
+
COMSAT was at that time. The headquarters is still near DC, in Bethesda, Maryland. Initially in ’68 when I joined them, the labs were on “L” Street, but they were building their facilities out in Clarksburg, which is a little north of Germantown and Gaithersburg. These towns are all in Maryland, along Route 270. [[Fairchild Semiconductor|Fairchild]] had good facilities there, and a couple of other aerospace companies were building there, so COMSAT built their labs there. It’s an impressive lab. They don’t give tours nowadays, but they hold open house a couple of times a year. It’s a nice facility. Bill Pritchard, who used to be the director of the lab, Assistant V.P., recently passed away. He was one of the pioneers. He used to be with Aerospace Corporation and also spent some time in Italy on some projects for the Navy, I think. Then he came to COMSAT, and he had Burt Edelson as his assistant director. Burt Edelson later became An Associate Administrator of NASA and then became associated with George Washington University. GWU has a small institute for space applications research, and Burt is its Director. In those days satellite communications was pretty heady stuff, because it was new. Things that we worked on very often resulted in a splash in the newspaper. For example, a little before I joined COMSAT, the Tokyo Olympics were covered by one of the INTELSAT satellites in 1964. Everyone was excited. They said, “Worldwide distribution of the news, live coverage, very unusual.” A year or two later with INTELSAT-4 and later on with INTELSAT-5, new services allowed major corporations to receive private data through worldwide satellites. Then the Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) were developed, which enabled almost every business to use satellites instead of terrestrial networks for long-distance communications. Things are now becoming commonplace which were unique and difficult in those days. I got into system analysis and planning because, number one, I like math, and number two, my father, a lawyer, instilled in me the importance of looking at all aspects of things, and not just one tiny part. When people brought legal cases in front of him, he had to look at both sides of the argument. I found system engineering is a good thing, and I didn’t really become a specialist in, say, power or a specialist in antennas. I did a little of antennas, a little of communication, a little of other things.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You had started in power because that was the only game in town when you started. </p>
+
You had started in power because that was the only game in town when you started.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Right. </p>
+
Right.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You were interested in space, so that steered you to space communications, even though you didn’t specialize. </p>
+
You were interested in space, so that steered you to space communications, even though you didn’t specialize.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Correct, yes. </p>
+
Correct, yes.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>In general the theme tying all these places together after you left the power field was space. </p>
+
In general the theme tying all these places together after you left the power field was space.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Yes. It was space and studies relating to analysis of systems requirements and developing a concept. NASA has a series of steps like a phase A study, phase B, C, D, where in phase A you do preliminary study and in phase B you develop the concept a little more, and in phase C you have the schematic drawing and start testing some items, and phase D where you actually get going and build it and test it for flight readiness. We followed a similar concept in COMSAT. NASA had an advisory role for COMSAT, especially for flight readiness reviews, and I got to know some of the people at NASA. Earlier, while at RCA, I had participated in presentations to NASA, our client, and was impressed by their level of expertise. I also had some interaction with the NASA folks, not because of my technical work but because of [[IEEE History|IEEE]]. Having been involved in [[IEEE History|IEEE]], I got involved in AESS through some NASA folks. </p>
+
Yes. It was space and studies relating to analysis of systems requirements and developing a concept. NASA has a series of steps like a phase A study, phase B, C, D, where in phase A you do preliminary study and in phase B you develop the concept a little more, and in phase C you have the schematic drawing and start testing some items, and phase D where you actually get going and build it and test it for flight readiness. We followed a similar concept in COMSAT. NASA had an advisory role for COMSAT, especially for flight readiness reviews, and I got to know some of the people at NASA. Earlier, while at RCA, I had participated in presentations to NASA, our client, and was impressed by their level of expertise. I also had some interaction with the NASA folks, not because of my technical work but because of [[IEEE History|IEEE]]. Having been involved in [[IEEE History|IEEE]], I got involved in AESS through some NASA folks.  
  
 
=== IEEE Activities  ===
 
=== IEEE Activities  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You joined way back in the ‘50s, but when did you become active, and most particularly, when did you recognize that the AESS was your home society? </p>
+
You joined way back in the ‘50s, but when did you become active, and most particularly, when did you recognize that the AESS was your home society?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>When I was at GE in ’63, there were a couple of [[IEEE History|IEEE]] meetings there and I started to attend those and realized there were all kinds of technical activities that I could participate in, but I was mostly doing some in-house work. GE had an advanced course in-house, and I gave some talks there. The person heading that effort was an [[AIEE History 1884-1963|AIEE]] member—[[AIEE History 1884-1963|AIEE]] at that time was the predecessor society to IEEE--so he kept us informed. [[Formation of IEEE by the Merger of AIEE and IRE|When the two societies (AIEE and IRE) merged to form IEEE]], he told us how it was going and so forth. When I was working at RCA, in ’66 or so, somewhere along the line I had read that David Sarnoff, who was the top leader of [[RCA (Radio Corporation of America)|RCA]], used to write memos of all kinds to his superiors in his early years even if it annoyed them, because he wanted to get his points across. So I took it upon myself to write a couple of memos to our management saying, “Look, why don’t we have two ladders of advancement within the profession? Everybody here thinks that you have to be a manager to be considered successful. Why don’t you have a similar arrangement for purely technical people so they can advance up?” They said, “That’s a good idea, let’s think about it.” </p>
+
When I was at GE in ’63, there were a couple of [[IEEE History|IEEE]] meetings there and I started to attend those and realized there were all kinds of technical activities that I could participate in, but I was mostly doing some in-house work. GE had an advanced course in-house, and I gave some talks there. The person heading that effort was an [[AIEE History 1884-1963|AIEE]] member—[[AIEE History 1884-1963|AIEE]] at that time was the predecessor society to IEEE--so he kept us informed. [[Formation of IEEE by the Merger of AIEE and IRE|When the two societies (AIEE and IRE) merged to form IEEE]], he told us how it was going and so forth. When I was working at RCA, in ’66 or so, somewhere along the line I had read that David Sarnoff, who was the top leader of [[RCA (Radio Corporation of America)|RCA]], used to write memos of all kinds to his superiors in his early years even if it annoyed them, because he wanted to get his points across. So I took it upon myself to write a couple of memos to our management saying, “Look, why don’t we have two ladders of advancement within the profession? Everybody here thinks that you have to be a manager to be considered successful. Why don’t you have a similar arrangement for purely technical people so they can advance up?” They said, “That’s a good idea, let’s think about it.”  
  
<p>I was reading some technical literature and I saw [[IEEE History|IEEE]] also had some people who were making those kinds of proposals. I got to meet some of them. I got active in the [[IEEE Princeton/Central New Jersey Section History|Princeton Section of IEEE]]. I made some proposals there about continuing education and how can we get it started for our own engineers. There were 3,000 engineers there, and I suggested evening continuing education courses for those who didn’t yet have an advanced degree. I began as Chair of the Section's Education Committee. Very soon after that there was an election for officers of the Section. I was nominated to be the secretary and got elected, but then I moved to this area, so I really became more active here when I came in ’68 or so. The late George Abraham, from Naval Research Lab (NRL), was a very pleasant gentleman, very supportive of people, and he was the DC-area Section chairman at that time, and he encouraged me to continue some of these activities. In 1971, around that time frame, the Apollo program was closing down, and a lot of engineers were being laid off, so we started a campaign in this area. I led the campaign, saying, “Why can’t we go to the government as a professional society and say that they should be more logical in phasing in and phasing out of programs, so that people don’t go through these swings? Suddenly 5,000 engineers are needed, and then next year 6,000 have to be laid off?” So we started this pilot experiment, Professional Activities Pilot Experiment (PAPE). Abraham as Section Chair, and the Vice Chair, Ed Wolf, supported it. </p>
+
I was reading some technical literature and I saw [[IEEE History|IEEE]] also had some people who were making those kinds of proposals. I got to meet some of them. I got active in the [[IEEE Princeton/Central New Jersey Section History|Princeton Section of IEEE]]. I made some proposals there about continuing education and how can we get it started for our own engineers. There were 3,000 engineers there, and I suggested evening continuing education courses for those who didn’t yet have an advanced degree. I began as Chair of the Section's Education Committee. Very soon after that there was an election for officers of the Section. I was nominated to be the secretary and got elected, but then I moved to this area, so I really became more active here when I came in ’68 or so. The late George Abraham, from Naval Research Lab (NRL), was a very pleasant gentleman, very supportive of people, and he was the DC-area Section chairman at that time, and he encouraged me to continue some of these activities. In 1971, around that time frame, the Apollo program was closing down, and a lot of engineers were being laid off, so we started a campaign in this area. I led the campaign, saying, “Why can’t we go to the government as a professional society and say that they should be more logical in phasing in and phasing out of programs, so that people don’t go through these swings? Suddenly 5,000 engineers are needed, and then next year 6,000 have to be laid off?” So we started this pilot experiment, Professional Activities Pilot Experiment (PAPE). Abraham as Section Chair, and the Vice Chair, Ed Wolf, supported it.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>And that was done at the Section level? </p>
+
And that was done at the Section level?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>This was done at the Section level. </p>
+
This was done at the Section level.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>The Section decided that they wanted to take this on. </p>
+
The Section decided that they wanted to take this on.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Correct. The Section said, “Saj, you lead this effort. It’s a good idea. Let’s find out what members want.” We held a series of meetings. We met every three weeks for six months or so, and we advertised in a local newsletter and by word of mouth. Ed Wolf was working at Goddard, and George Abraham was at NRL, so some government guys came to our meetings, and some contractors came in. </p>
+
Correct. The Section said, “Saj, you lead this effort. It’s a good idea. Let’s find out what members want.” We held a series of meetings. We met every three weeks for six months or so, and we advertised in a local newsletter and by word of mouth. Ed Wolf was working at Goddard, and George Abraham was at NRL, so some government guys came to our meetings, and some contractors came in.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You were at COMSAT at this point. </p>
+
You were at COMSAT at this point.  
  
 
=== AESS Society  ===
 
=== AESS Society  ===
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>I was at COMSAT still, yes. There was a gentleman named Rudy Stampfl who later on was a vice president and then President of the AESS Society, and I think he also became a Director of the Institute for a while. But anyway, in those days he was at Goddard, and he was head of an engineering division supporting some satellite work. Rudy Stampfl was very involved in this PAPE experiment, and very supportive of it. He sent several of his people to our meetings. He was also the local AESS Chapter chairman. He called me and said, “Come in the chapter and be more active in it,” so in ’72 I became the program chairman and then later the secretary, and then vice chairman, and chairman. The AESS Society is the one I started with in ’72. </p>
+
I was at COMSAT still, yes. There was a gentleman named Rudy Stampfl who later on was a vice president and then President of the AESS Society, and I think he also became a Director of the Institute for a while. But anyway, in those days he was at Goddard, and he was head of an engineering division supporting some satellite work. Rudy Stampfl was very involved in this PAPE experiment, and very supportive of it. He sent several of his people to our meetings. He was also the local AESS Chapter chairman. He called me and said, “Come in the chapter and be more active in it,” so in ’72 I became the program chairman and then later the secretary, and then vice chairman, and chairman. The AESS Society is the one I started with in ’72.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>I imagine that AESS, unlike some of these fields where the engineers are spread evenly across the country, it must be very focused in places like Houston, here, maybe Southern California, a very few certain places. I presume you could have a very active chapter here, but you might have trouble getting a chapter together in Pittsburgh or some area which has a lot of other sorts of engineers but wouldn’t really have as many aerospace engineers. </p>
+
I imagine that AESS, unlike some of these fields where the engineers are spread evenly across the country, it must be very focused in places like Houston, here, maybe Southern California, a very few certain places. I presume you could have a very active chapter here, but you might have trouble getting a chapter together in Pittsburgh or some area which has a lot of other sorts of engineers but wouldn’t really have as many aerospace engineers.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>The IEEE has 250 sections or so, but we have only twenty-two chapters because of this very reason, that there are not too many people. And in this area although there are many people working in this field, they are usually so busy in their work that they don't join -- and we have only 700 or 800 members in our chapter. Many of them don’t even come to the meetings. I had hoped we would have 1,000 members, but we don’t. The overall society has about 8,000 or 10,000 members. We tried to open some chapters overseas when I was president. We had some success. Mostly they are joint chapters – with communications, antennas and propagation, or microwaves. </p>
+
The IEEE has 250 sections or so, but we have only twenty-two chapters because of this very reason, that there are not too many people. And in this area although there are many people working in this field, they are usually so busy in their work that they don't join -- and we have only 700 or 800 members in our chapter. Many of them don’t even come to the meetings. I had hoped we would have 1,000 members, but we don’t. The overall society has about 8,000 or 10,000 members. We tried to open some chapters overseas when I was president. We had some success. Mostly they are joint chapters – with communications, antennas and propagation, or microwaves.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You are a logical society to have co-chapters, because you have a finger in so many pies. </p>
+
You are a logical society to have co-chapters, because you have a finger in so many pies.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Right. </p>
+
Right.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Alright, now let’s go back to PAPE and the layoffs you were talking about in the early ‘70s and your effort there. </p>
+
Alright, now let’s go back to PAPE and the layoffs you were talking about in the early ‘70s and your effort there.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>We did come up with some recommendations and IEEE Headquarters at that time was still not sure whether they wanted to do anything with professional activities, but I must say the society hierarchy is usually quite receptive to ideas. I was pleasantly surprised. I got a call from Harold Chestnut, who was the immediate past president or something like that and he said, “We hear these great things about professional activities in Washington. We are going to have a meeting in New York. Why don’t you come there and tell us about it?” A couple of years later they set up the United States Activities Committee (USAC), which later became USAB, the United States Activity Board. Now it’s [[IEEE-USA History|IEEE-USA]]. </p>
+
We did come up with some recommendations and IEEE Headquarters at that time was still not sure whether they wanted to do anything with professional activities, but I must say the society hierarchy is usually quite receptive to ideas. I was pleasantly surprised. I got a call from Harold Chestnut, who was the immediate past president or something like that and he said, “We hear these great things about professional activities in Washington. We are going to have a meeting in New York. Why don’t you come there and tell us about it?” A couple of years later they set up the United States Activities Committee (USAC), which later became USAB, the United States Activity Board. Now it’s [[IEEE-USA History|IEEE-USA]].  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>And next decade, who knows. </p>
+
And next decade, who knows.  
  
 
=== IEEE-USA  ===
 
=== IEEE-USA  ===
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Of course the [[IEEE-USA History|IEEE-USA]] covers more than just professional activities. They are supposedly doing the whole thing. The AESS affiliation more or less started because I got to know some people at Goddard and some people at COMSAT. Did I mention Rob Briskman’s name to you? Briskman was at COMSAT Headquarters and he was the AESS Society president before [[Oral-History:Cary Spitzer|Cary Spitzer]] and after Eric Herz, somewhere in between. I knew some of these folks and I thought they were doing good stuff and I got involved in AESS. I didn’t expect to end up being the president in the future. Actually, before I went on the board I worked on the Society Transactions, associate editor for eight or ten years in the space systems part of it. Writing and editing is one of my favorite things. </p>
+
Of course the [[IEEE-USA History|IEEE-USA]] covers more than just professional activities. They are supposedly doing the whole thing. The AESS affiliation more or less started because I got to know some people at Goddard and some people at COMSAT. Did I mention Rob Briskman’s name to you? Briskman was at COMSAT Headquarters and he was the AESS Society president before [[Oral-History:Cary Spitzer|Cary Spitzer]] and after Eric Herz, somewhere in between. I knew some of these folks and I thought they were doing good stuff and I got involved in AESS. I didn’t expect to end up being the president in the future. Actually, before I went on the board I worked on the Society Transactions, associate editor for eight or ten years in the space systems part of it. Writing and editing is one of my favorite things.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>What got you involved with the national society? Was it more your chapter work or your editorial work that got you onto the board and eventually president? </p>
+
What got you involved with the national society? Was it more your chapter work or your editorial work that got you onto the board and eventually president?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>I think I would have been on the board on the basis of either one of those. If I had been just the associate editor of Transactions, maybe after a few years they put you on the board. Or if you’re a Chapter chairman and you are active and eager they put you on a board. I was on the board for six years. Actually you have to step aside after those six years are over. But they elected me president in my sixth year, so they extended my term on the Board. Traditionally you are president for two years. I was president for 1982 and 1983. My board membership started in 1976, something like that. </p>
+
I think I would have been on the board on the basis of either one of those. If I had been just the associate editor of Transactions, maybe after a few years they put you on the board. Or if you’re a Chapter chairman and you are active and eager they put you on a board. I was on the board for six years. Actually you have to step aside after those six years are over. But they elected me president in my sixth year, so they extended my term on the Board. Traditionally you are president for two years. I was president for 1982 and 1983. My board membership started in 1976, something like that.  
  
 
=== U.S. Citizenship  ===
 
=== U.S. Citizenship  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>That was your progression. All the way back to COMSAT you got active in this professional issue, and that eventually led to you becoming president, in part – that and your editorial interests. Initially you were a permanent resident alien of the United States and not a citizen. </p>
+
That was your progression. All the way back to COMSAT you got active in this professional issue, and that eventually led to you becoming president, in part – that and your editorial interests. Initially you were a permanent resident alien of the United States and not a citizen.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Right. </p>
+
Right.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>At what point did that status change? </p>
+
At what point did that status change?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>That’s an interesting story. I could say I was a beneficiary of the Cold War. When I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico working on my Ph.D., I took a summer job with a branch of Curtis-Wright Corporation, the airplane company. The New Mexico branch had some projects from them or a similar company. I have forgotten the exact name now, it’s been so long. I went there one year, and the next year again during the summer. It was in the early ‘60s when the Cold War was really hot. </p>
+
That’s an interesting story. I could say I was a beneficiary of the Cold War. When I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico working on my Ph.D., I took a summer job with a branch of Curtis-Wright Corporation, the airplane company. The New Mexico branch had some projects from them or a similar company. I have forgotten the exact name now, it’s been so long. I went there one year, and the next year again during the summer. It was in the early ‘60s when the Cold War was really hot.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You mentioned Sputnik getting everyone crazy about space. </p>
+
You mentioned Sputnik getting everyone crazy about space.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>That’s true, yes. The Russians were getting a lot of people from Asian and African countries coming to their universities, and the U.S. was trying to counter that with things like the AID program and Truman’s Four Point Plan. And the head of the department in which I was working said, “Durrani, we want people like you to be our friends, not their friends,” and he said, “Do you want me to sponsor you for immigration?” I said, “It’s a lot of headache for you, and I was thinking of going back to Pakistan after a while.” He said, “No harm. We’ll do it,” and he sponsored me. He put in the paperwork and it took him eight or nine months. When I went back to Pakistan, it was in fact one of the conditions to maintain your immigration status, that every couple of years you’ve got to come back to the US for awhile. When five years were over in ’66, I became a citizen after I had joined RCA. It’s been a good step in the sense that finally I knew where I belonged. </p>
+
That’s true, yes. The Russians were getting a lot of people from Asian and African countries coming to their universities, and the U.S. was trying to counter that with things like the AID program and Truman’s Four Point Plan. And the head of the department in which I was working said, “Durrani, we want people like you to be our friends, not their friends,” and he said, “Do you want me to sponsor you for immigration?” I said, “It’s a lot of headache for you, and I was thinking of going back to Pakistan after a while.” He said, “No harm. We’ll do it,” and he sponsored me. He put in the paperwork and it took him eight or nine months. When I went back to Pakistan, it was in fact one of the conditions to maintain your immigration status, that every couple of years you’ve got to come back to the US for awhile. When five years were over in ’66, I became a citizen after I had joined RCA. It’s been a good step in the sense that finally I knew where I belonged.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Engineers have professional concerns in every country, and some cut across countries, but a lot of IEEE’s professional activities have been focused on American engineers. That’s why when they finally formed USAB, which is now [[IEEE-USA History|IEEE-USA]], they included professional activities. They still do that PACE conference every year and so forth. But you already had become an American citizen when you got involved in these issues. </p>
+
Engineers have professional concerns in every country, and some cut across countries, but a lot of IEEE’s professional activities have been focused on American engineers. That’s why when they finally formed USAB, which is now [[IEEE-USA History|IEEE-USA]], they included professional activities. They still do that PACE conference every year and so forth. But you already had become an American citizen when you got involved in these issues.  
  
 
=== Planning a Broadcast Satellite System  ===
 
=== Planning a Broadcast Satellite System  ===
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>PACE and PAPE and those things were important, but they were secondary in my view. I was still primarily the AESS member or the Communications Society member looking at technical aspects of IEEE and looking at the transnational or global aspects, looking at what else might be done collaboratively with other countries when I was doing working on technical programs. When I joined NASA for example, very often I was involved in frequency planning and coordination. At one time this was a big thing. In planning a broadcasting satellite system, you were concerned about what frequencies would be used, and figuring out how to make sure that every country that needed an allocation would get it. So there were some battles. A lot of study and work was involved. By the way, it also showed how sometimes people can overplan. After five or six years of work and many regional and world radio conferences, this group for broadcasting satellite services came up with a very comprehensive plan of frequency blocks for each country, how many TV channels would be needed via satellite, and so forth. In practice, when it started being implemented, to some extent it got put aside. A whole new system has been developed, partly because technology changed and partly because some countries didn’t need those frequency bands and others needed more of them. But the planning aspect of it, the system aspect of it, does include international considerations as well as national. </p>
+
<flashmp3>357 - durrani - clip 2.mp3</flashmp3>  
  
<p>I was lucky. With COMSAT we used to have people from many other countries coming for six-month or nine-month assignments, because they were members of the INTELSAT Consortium and they wanted to see what headquarters was doing. Some of them were very bright people, and they would go back and do some similar things at home. Some of them stayed on and became members of INTELSAT. COMSAT nowadays has changed its emphasis somewhat. It’s become more like any other communication company in that they are in some ways hard up financially and have turned to always making deals, selling something and buying something, and R&amp;D people are a little unhappy there. They no longer have much freedom to do what they want to do. I was talking to an old friend the other day. He said, “Well, in the old days I used to have a 3-year plan or a 5-year plan. Now I am lucky if I can plan ahead for a month or three months.” </p>
+
PACE and PAPE and those things were important, but they were secondary in my view. I was still primarily the AESS member or the Communications Society member looking at technical aspects of IEEE and looking at the transnational or global aspects, looking at what else might be done collaboratively with other countries when I was doing working on technical programs. When I joined NASA for example, very often I was involved in frequency planning and coordination. At one time this was a big thing. In planning a broadcasting satellite system, you were concerned about what frequencies would be used, and figuring out how to make sure that every country that needed an allocation would get it. So there were some battles. A lot of study and work was involved. By the way, it also showed how sometimes people can overplan. After five or six years of work and many regional and world radio conferences, this group for broadcasting satellite services came up with a very comprehensive plan of frequency blocks for each country, how many TV channels would be needed via satellite, and so forth. In practice, when it started being implemented, to some extent it got put aside. A whole new system has been developed, partly because technology changed and partly because some countries didn’t need those frequency bands and others needed more of them. But the planning aspect of it, the system aspect of it, does include international considerations as well as national.
 +
 
 +
I was lucky. With COMSAT we used to have people from many other countries coming for six-month or nine-month assignments, because they were members of the INTELSAT Consortium and they wanted to see what headquarters was doing. Some of them were very bright people, and they would go back and do some similar things at home. Some of them stayed on and became members of INTELSAT. COMSAT nowadays has changed its emphasis somewhat. It’s become more like any other communication company in that they are in some ways hard up financially and have turned to always making deals, selling something and buying something, and R&amp;D people are a little unhappy there. They no longer have much freedom to do what they want to do. I was talking to an old friend the other day. He said, “Well, in the old days I used to have a 3-year plan or a 5-year plan. Now I am lucky if I can plan ahead for a month or three months.”  
  
 
=== IEEE Outreach to Schools and Other Professional Activities  ===
 
=== IEEE Outreach to Schools and Other Professional Activities  ===
  
<p>Another part of [[IEEE History|IEEE]], professional activities, is now reaching out to schools and so forth. I was active in the Washington Section in the old days, and I became Section chairman. Nowadays they have a Council, which has the Virginia and Washington Sections together. Currently I’m PACE chairman for the council. We have five or six projects. One of our members, Dave Weiss, who retired from the University of Maryland some time ago, has a project using retirees to help out middle schools in this county. Another member, George Rodgers in Northern Virginia has been teaching math and science to high school kids at Thomas Jefferson Technical High School, which is one of the Governor's charter -- or magnet -- schools in Virginia. We have [[IEEE-USA History|IEEE-USA]] tech policy committees downtown, and I’m a member of the Aerospace Policy Committee. [[Oral-History:Cary Spitzer|Cary Spitzer]] is chairman and I am vice chairman. There are four other committees like that – for medical technology; R&amp;D; energy; and communication and information policy. We are trying to get people to participate in those committees. One of our PACE projects is at the DuVal High School, which is near Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland. They have an advisory board, and one of my colleagues who used to be on it told me about it, so I’m on that board now. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) took the lead there and have been helping the school for the past eight or nine years. They have the students start a project first just to get organized, and then they take two or three years to study and define their experiment. NASA gives them a little canister, called a "Get Away Special" or "GAS" can, in which they can put all their instruments and their equipment, and that will fly in the shuttle. The students, who are 11th graders and 12th graders, spent a lot of time on it, and they identified their project, which was to send cockroaches up in space and see how they behaved. They studied cockroach behavior on earth, how much food they need, how much water they need, and their other social and reproductive behavior, how much do they weigh, and so on. Then, with the help of local engineers from Allied, Lockheed, CSC and Goddard, they proposed the experiment and did the analysis. One of our IEEE members has been involved with it, for his own personal interest, and now we are trying to get IEEE involved in it formally. The previous experiment shared the famous flight of the Space Shuttle with John Glenn last year, and they had a lot of press coverage and pictures of these little roaches that came back, and now they are going to do some analysis of how they fared in space. They had put little cameras in a couple of places so that two hours per day during flight the behavior of the cockroaches was taped. They are still doing some of this analysis. </p>
+
Another part of [[IEEE History|IEEE]], professional activities, is now reaching out to schools and so forth. I was active in the Washington Section in the old days, and I became Section chairman. Nowadays they have a Council, which has the Virginia and Washington Sections together. Currently I’m PACE chairman for the council. We have five or six projects. One of our members, Dave Weiss, who retired from the University of Maryland some time ago, has a project using retirees to help out middle schools in this county. Another member, George Rodgers in Northern Virginia has been teaching math and science to high school kids at Thomas Jefferson Technical High School, which is one of the Governor's charter -- or magnet -- schools in Virginia. We have [[IEEE-USA History|IEEE-USA]] tech policy committees downtown, and I’m a member of the Aerospace Policy Committee. [[Oral-History:Cary Spitzer|Cary Spitzer]] is chairman and I am vice chairman. There are four other committees like that – for medical technology; R&amp;D; energy; and communication and information policy. We are trying to get people to participate in those committees. One of our PACE projects is at the DuVal High School, which is near Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland. They have an advisory board, and one of my colleagues who used to be on it told me about it, so I’m on that board now. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) took the lead there and have been helping the school for the past eight or nine years. They have the students start a project first just to get organized, and then they take two or three years to study and define their experiment. NASA gives them a little canister, called a "Get Away Special" or "GAS" can, in which they can put all their instruments and their equipment, and that will fly in the shuttle. The students, who are 11th graders and 12th graders, spent a lot of time on it, and they identified their project, which was to send cockroaches up in space and see how they behaved. They studied cockroach behavior on earth, how much food they need, how much water they need, and their other social and reproductive behavior, how much do they weigh, and so on. Then, with the help of local engineers from Allied, Lockheed, CSC and Goddard, they proposed the experiment and did the analysis. One of our IEEE members has been involved with it, for his own personal interest, and now we are trying to get IEEE involved in it formally. The previous experiment shared the famous flight of the Space Shuttle with John Glenn last year, and they had a lot of press coverage and pictures of these little roaches that came back, and now they are going to do some analysis of how they fared in space. They had put little cameras in a couple of places so that two hours per day during flight the behavior of the cockroaches was taped. They are still doing some of this analysis.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Do you think those kinds of activities are increasing, or have those things been going on all along? </p>
+
Do you think those kinds of activities are increasing, or have those things been going on all along?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>These activities to help schools have been going on all along, and hopefully now we can expand them. In Virginia George Rodgers has been doing this for ten years, and has been presenting his results in educational society meetings and so forth. But we want to have a larger participation, and more volunteers getting involved, and not just two or three people from each place. </p>
+
These activities to help schools have been going on all along, and hopefully now we can expand them. In Virginia George Rodgers has been doing this for ten years, and has been presenting his results in educational society meetings and so forth. But we want to have a larger participation, and more volunteers getting involved, and not just two or three people from each place.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>This is being done at the Section and Council level? </p>
+
This is being done at the Section and Council level?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>At the Council level, with funding provided by the Sections and the Region. </p>
+
At the Council level, with funding provided by the Sections and the Region.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>IEEE, being such a large and complex organization, geographically and technically, there is often a lot going on, and sometimes there is duplication of effort. </p>
+
IEEE, being such a large and complex organization, geographically and technically, there is often a lot going on, and sometimes there is duplication of effort.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Oh yes. </p>
+
Oh yes.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Since you’re a [[IEEE Fellow Grade History|Life Fellow]], you probably get the Life Members’ newsletter. They are involved with something called RESEED. </p>
+
Since you’re a [[IEEE Fellow Grade History|Life Fellow]], you probably get the Life Members’ newsletter. They are involved with something called RESEED.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>That’s the program I mentioned, with retired engineers helping middle school teachers. </p>
+
That’s the program I mentioned, with retired engineers helping middle school teachers.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>So you are tapped into that. I found out that there were other people scattered around the country trying to do the same kind of thing on their own and don’t know about others making parallel efforts. </p>
+
So you are tapped into that. I found out that there were other people scattered around the country trying to do the same kind of thing on their own and don’t know about others making parallel efforts.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Exactly. That was a very good thing that the Life Members' newsletter included this information. As it happens, Dave had applied to the Council for some funding to enlarge the project, so we knew about him. But then came this newsletter and I called him up and said, “Dave, you are a celebrity.” He said, “I haven’t seen that newsletter yet.” </p>
+
Exactly. That was a very good thing that the Life Members' newsletter included this information. As it happens, Dave had applied to the Council for some funding to enlarge the project, so we knew about him. But then came this newsletter and I called him up and said, “Dave, you are a celebrity.” He said, “I haven’t seen that newsletter yet.”  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Who is doing this? </p>
+
Who is doing this?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Dave Weiss. </p>
+
Dave Weiss.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Right. </p>
+
Right.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>He is local, and there is another gentleman, a professor in the Boston area. </p>
+
He is local, and there is another gentleman, a professor in the Boston area.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>RESEED started in Boston at Northeastern University, and now they are trying to spread it, and I guess you are one of the first satellite tests. </p>
+
RESEED started in Boston at Northeastern University, and now they are trying to spread it, and I guess you are one of the first satellite tests.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Yes. Dave Weiss has done it before, independent of the Council. But now we are aware of his work, and he has come to several of our Council meetings, and we have given him exposure. He advertised in the Washington Post also, in their public service type listing. Last year he did that and got eighteen people. Twelve of them are electrical engineers, and of the other six, two are medical doctors. Dave is going to continue to do the same thing. Yes, it’s true that it’s a big organization, but at the PACE conference they share ideas. I went there last year and I’ve been to some of them before, and one of our representatives will be at this year's conference. It’s happening next week, and unfortunately I will not be able to attend. I’ll be on vacation in Alaska. </p>
+
Yes. Dave Weiss has done it before, independent of the Council. But now we are aware of his work, and he has come to several of our Council meetings, and we have given him exposure. He advertised in the Washington Post also, in their public service type listing. Last year he did that and got eighteen people. Twelve of them are electrical engineers, and of the other six, two are medical doctors. Dave is going to continue to do the same thing. Yes, it’s true that it’s a big organization, but at the PACE conference they share ideas. I went there last year and I’ve been to some of them before, and one of our representatives will be at this year's conference. It’s happening next week, and unfortunately I will not be able to attend. I’ll be on vacation in Alaska.  
  
 
=== Working for NASA 1974-1992  ===
 
=== Working for NASA 1974-1992  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You went to NASA in ’74. </p>
+
You went to NASA in ’74.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Yes, and I stayed with them until ’92. I spent some years at Goddard. Then I went to Headquarters for a couple of years, came back to Goddard for five or six years, went back to Headquarters for four years. </p>
+
Yes, and I stayed with them until ’92. I spent some years at Goddard. Then I went to Headquarters for a couple of years, came back to Goddard for five or six years, went back to Headquarters for four years.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>The headquarters is downtown, so it’s probably more convenient for you to go to Goddard than downtown. </p>
+
The headquarters is downtown, so it’s probably more convenient for you to go to Goddard than downtown.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>It’s 50 minutes in one direction and an hour in the other direction. It was almost the same. The reason for going to HQ was interesting. When I was at Goddard in the beginning for six years, I was working on innovative application of space. I did some conference papers and chaired some sessions and so on, so I got to know quite a few people in different companies. Goddard at that time, in the late ‘70s, was doing a study to find out how much support was needed from government in communications. Critics used to say, “Industry is now pretty stable and healthy income-wise. Should government be spending money on it?” We had a couple of programs within Goddard. The Advanced Technology Satellites (ATS) program was starting to phase out. ATS-6 had been a great success, and NASA Headquarters wanted something to follow up on that. ATS-6 had a 30-foot diameter antenna on the spacecraft, and it was therefore able to relay TV signals down to earth. They used to have a 10 or 15 foot antenna at the ground terminal for community use, which was considered small. That antenna could pick up these signals from the satellite at S band (2.2 GHz), and some experiments were in the UHF 900 MHz band. They did experiments in India and several other places for community development, educational broadcasts and so on. </p>
+
<flashmp3>357 - durrani - clip 3.mp3</flashmp3>  
  
<p>As a follow up for ATS-6, we were proposing an Advanced Communication Technology Satellite (ACTS). Some years earlier, NASA had a Communication Technology Satellite (CTS) in collaboration with the Canadians, which had a huge 200-watt microwave transmitter tube on the spacecraft. Headquarters was thrilled with ACTS, but the OMB was not very thrilled with the idea of government spending more money on a follow up on ATS or CTS. John McElroy, who was at Goddard, was given the responsibility by the Center director to do a survey of different companies and see where technology stood and where government support was needed. McElroy selected a team – an antenna specialist, an engineer with a background in economics (for cost-benefit analysis), and me as the communications person. The four of us went around the country. We went to Hughes, Lockheed, RCA and several other companies. They were all very receptive in the sense that it was a NASA program and they wanted us to know their capabilities. They knew that ACTS had been proposed, and they knew that the question was whether we should go forward or not. We got some very good insight into what different companies were doing. We gave a report of the results. Goddard was happy with it. Then McElroy went to Headquarters to direct the Communications Division there and implement the recommendations. He took two of us with him. I spent a couple of years at Headquarters with him. </p>
+
It’s 50 minutes in one direction and an hour in the other direction. It was almost the same. The reason for going to HQ was interesting. When I was at Goddard in the beginning for six years, I was working on innovative application of space. I did some conference papers and chaired some sessions and so on, so I got to know quite a few people in different companies. Goddard at that time, in the late ‘70s, was doing a study to find out how much support was needed from government in communications. Critics used to say, “Industry is now pretty stable and healthy income-wise. Should government be spending money on it?” We had a couple of programs within Goddard. The Advanced Technology Satellites (ATS) program was starting to phase out. ATS-6 had been a great success, and NASA Headquarters wanted something to follow up on that. ATS-6 had a 30-foot diameter antenna on the spacecraft, and it was therefore able to relay TV signals down to earth. They used to have a 10 or 15 foot antenna at the ground terminal for community use, which was considered small. That antenna could pick up these signals from the satellite at S band (2.2 GHz), and some experiments were in the UHF 900 MHz band. They did experiments in India and several other places for community development, educational broadcasts and so on.  
  
<p>Then I went back to Goddard in 1981 because TDRS was going to be launched, in ‘82, '83 and they were getting nervous because the ground segment was not completely ready. They set up a special deputy and associate director to get this TDRS system going. He had two or three people working for him, and one of them knew me from the old days at Goddard, and he invited me to come work on the program. I became the system-planning manager for the ground system. The satellite was already built and was ready to be launched. Our job was to make sure all the ground elements were ready at White Sands and other locations. The ground system needed to be made ready to receive the data from TDRS, separate it, and send it to all the principal investigators whose experiments were flying on those small scientific "user" satellites. After that work was completed, they had reorganization and I went to work as Research and Planning Manager of the NASCOM division within Goddard. In 1988, I went to NASA Headquarters as a program manager in the Advanced Systems Office, a part of the Office of Space Communications, and after a few years I retired. </p>
+
As a follow up for ATS-6, we were proposing an Advanced Communication Technology Satellite (ACTS). Some years earlier, NASA had a Communication Technology Satellite (CTS) in collaboration with the Canadians, which had a huge 200-watt microwave transmitter tube on the spacecraft. Headquarters was thrilled with ACTS, but the OMB was not very thrilled with the idea of government spending more money on a follow up on ATS or CTS. John McElroy, who was at Goddard, was given the responsibility by the Center director to do a survey of different companies and see where technology stood and where government support was needed. McElroy selected a team – an antenna specialist, an engineer with a background in economics (for cost-benefit analysis), and me as the communications person. The four of us went around the country. We went to Hughes, Lockheed, RCA and several other companies. They were all very receptive in the sense that it was a NASA program and they wanted us to know their capabilities. They knew that ACTS had been proposed, and they knew that the question was whether we should go forward or not. We got some very good insight into what different companies were doing. We gave a report of the results. Goddard was happy with it. Then McElroy went to Headquarters to direct the Communications Division there and implement the recommendations. He took two of us with him. I spent a couple of years at Headquarters with him.  
  
<p>Then I again benefited from [[IEEE History|IEEE]], because I was involved in several IEEE activities, and Joe Toro at Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) happened to be the Section chairman at that time. He knew me from those activities, and from the time at NASA Headquarters, and when he heard in ’92 that I was going to retire, he said, “Why don’t you come to Computer Sciences Corporation for a few years? You can work part-time if you want, or you can be full-time if you want.” I went to CSC and they gave me the title of Consulting Engineer, but I was a full time employee for six years or so after that. CSC had a large contract for operating some of the Goddard ground stations, control stations, orbit determination for various scientific spacecraft, the TDRS system, giving advice for the next generation TDRS they were planning, and some R&amp;D work – in general supporting R&amp;D at Goddard relating to communications. It fit in well in the sense that civil servants at Goddard wanted the work done and the CSC team knew how to do it. As part of CSC I was involved in doing that work, and enjoyed it. </p>
+
Then I went back to Goddard in 1981 because TDRS was going to be launched, in ‘82, '83 and they were getting nervous because the ground segment was not completely ready. They set up a special deputy and associate director to get this TDRS system going. He had two or three people working for him, and one of them knew me from the old days at Goddard, and he invited me to come work on the program. I became the system-planning manager for the ground system. The satellite was already built and was ready to be launched. Our job was to make sure all the ground elements were ready at White Sands and other locations. The ground system needed to be made ready to receive the data from TDRS, separate it, and send it to all the principal investigators whose experiments were flying on those small scientific "user" satellites. After that work was completed, they had reorganization and I went to work as Research and Planning Manager of the NASCOM division within Goddard. In 1988, I went to NASA Headquarters as a program manager in the Advanced Systems Office, a part of the Office of Space Communications, and after a few years I retired.
 +
 
 +
Then I again benefited from [[IEEE History|IEEE]], because I was involved in several IEEE activities, and Joe Toro at Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) happened to be the Section chairman at that time. He knew me from those activities, and from the time at NASA Headquarters, and when he heard in ’92 that I was going to retire, he said, “Why don’t you come to Computer Sciences Corporation for a few years? You can work part-time if you want, or you can be full-time if you want.” I went to CSC and they gave me the title of Consulting Engineer, but I was a full time employee for six years or so after that. CSC had a large contract for operating some of the Goddard ground stations, control stations, orbit determination for various scientific spacecraft, the TDRS system, giving advice for the next generation TDRS they were planning, and some R&amp;D work – in general supporting R&amp;D at Goddard relating to communications. It fit in well in the sense that civil servants at Goddard wanted the work done and the CSC team knew how to do it. As part of CSC I was involved in doing that work, and enjoyed it.  
  
 
=== Retirement and Post-Retirement Activities.  ===
 
=== Retirement and Post-Retirement Activities.  ===
  
<p>Then when I turned 70 last year I thought, “Well, it’s time to retire.” It was easy to say "retire," but I have not fully retired. I got an assignment under the UN Development Program for which I went to Pakistan for six weeks, and of course I ended up spending a couple of weeks extra there. The UN has a program where expatriates from developing countries who have been in Europe, the U.S. or Canada, or some other developed country, go back and spend a few weeks or months in their old home country if the home country asks for it. They have to have a specific department or division that needs some help from outside. The UN doesn’t want to impose. But if they request it, the UN can come up with assistance. It’s a very simple program, in a way. The UN doesn’t spend very much money. The UN just gives you a per diem, something like $70 or $80, depending on the country. The country doesn’t give you anything, except welcome you. You are on your own. You are either donating your time or your vacation time, or you are a retiree and don’t care. When I was at NASA they had asked me once, in ’85 I think. I spent three weeks with them then. At that time, they were developing a communication satellite package. But for those three weeks all they really wanted of me was to give some talks on satellite communication and what’s going on in different countries in the different labs. But this time it was a specific thing. They had built another small package, which they are going to launch on a Russian rocket as a piggyback satellite – in September probably, unless the Russians have some economic problem and postpone it. It’s a rather small, 60-kilogram satellite the size of about two briefcases, which has three or four experiments: a radiation experiment and another experiment with battery life, and a camera for remote sensing. They feel they have to compete with the Indian space program, but the Indian space program, when I visited them in the mid '80s, was far, far ahead. They have built their own spacecraft, bigger ones, and they have launched them for several years. </p>
+
Then when I turned 70 last year I thought, “Well, it’s time to retire.” It was easy to say "retire," but I have not fully retired. I got an assignment under the UN Development Program for which I went to Pakistan for six weeks, and of course I ended up spending a couple of weeks extra there. The UN has a program where expatriates from developing countries who have been in Europe, the U.S. or Canada, or some other developed country, go back and spend a few weeks or months in their old home country if the home country asks for it. They have to have a specific department or division that needs some help from outside. The UN doesn’t want to impose. But if they request it, the UN can come up with assistance. It’s a very simple program, in a way. The UN doesn’t spend very much money. The UN just gives you a per diem, something like $70 or $80, depending on the country. The country doesn’t give you anything, except welcome you. You are on your own. You are either donating your time or your vacation time, or you are a retiree and don’t care. When I was at NASA they had asked me once, in ’85 I think. I spent three weeks with them then. At that time, they were developing a communication satellite package. But for those three weeks all they really wanted of me was to give some talks on satellite communication and what’s going on in different countries in the different labs. But this time it was a specific thing. They had built another small package, which they are going to launch on a Russian rocket as a piggyback satellite – in September probably, unless the Russians have some economic problem and postpone it. It’s a rather small, 60-kilogram satellite the size of about two briefcases, which has three or four experiments: a radiation experiment and another experiment with battery life, and a camera for remote sensing. They feel they have to compete with the Indian space program, but the Indian space program, when I visited them in the mid '80s, was far, far ahead. They have built their own spacecraft, bigger ones, and they have launched them for several years.  
  
<p>The Pakistan team did not discuss with me what kind of launch capability they have, but it is obvious they don’t have enough to do it by themselves. They launched their first spacecraft with the Chinese eight years ago. It was in orbit for about six weeks, and then somehow they lost it because its orbit determination was wrong, or the sun angle was wrong, and they lost power. The new spacecraft this time is a very simple gravity gradient type satellite, and has very little onboard control. But at least they have a team of 30 or so young fellows, most of them 22 to 28, and it’s a learning experience for them. They have put this thing together, and they are crossing their fingers that it will work. </p>
+
The Pakistan team did not discuss with me what kind of launch capability they have, but it is obvious they don’t have enough to do it by themselves. They launched their first spacecraft with the Chinese eight years ago. It was in orbit for about six weeks, and then somehow they lost it because its orbit determination was wrong, or the sun angle was wrong, and they lost power. The new spacecraft this time is a very simple gravity gradient type satellite, and has very little onboard control. But at least they have a team of 30 or so young fellows, most of them 22 to 28, and it’s a learning experience for them. They have put this thing together, and they are crossing their fingers that it will work.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>I just hope the Russians don’t blow it up. </p>
+
I just hope the Russians don’t blow it up.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>The Russians are going to launch it with one of their meteorological satellites as a piggyback. I spent two months in Pakistan (from January to March). Nowadays I am relaxing and going on vacation. </p>
+
The Russians are going to launch it with one of their meteorological satellites as a piggyback. I spent two months in Pakistan (from January to March). Nowadays I am relaxing and going on vacation.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You probably didn’t all those years before retirement. </p>
+
You probably didn’t all those years before retirement.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>We did have some vacations, but this will be fun. It’s a cruise to Alaska. </p>
+
We did have some vacations, but this will be fun. It’s a cruise to Alaska.  
  
 
=== Major Trends in Space Communications  ===
 
=== Major Trends in Space Communications  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You’ve been involved with space communication systems at least since the mid-‘60s. That’s over 30 years. What do you see as the major trends? Looking back at what you were doing in 1966 and what you were doing last year, what do you see as the main differences? </p>
+
You’ve been involved with space communication systems at least since the mid-‘60s. That’s over 30 years. What do you see as the major trends? Looking back at what you were doing in 1966 and what you were doing last year, what do you see as the main differences?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>The big difference is the new computing power, and the new advances in technology that have allowed small chips, quite a lot of memory onboard, and the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology. </p>
+
The big difference is the new computing power, and the new advances in technology that have allowed small chips, quite a lot of memory onboard, and the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>There’s not a lot of bandwidth, presumably. </p>
+
There’s not a lot of bandwidth, presumably.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>It allows them to do things faster, and do many things that we couldn’t have done before. Computational capability wasn’t there. If you have to reduce some ambiguity or clean up some clutter, you have to do a lot of computation. It couldn’t be done without modern electronics and integrated circuits. I guess the other big thing is the fact that nowadays communications is getting to be so that a user terminal has to be user friendly, and the terminal has to be small, like handheld mechanisms. Since these new systems developed, now everybody wants a handheld unit like Iridium is focusing on, and via satellite. That couldn’t have been done thirty years ago. Also, thirty years ago everything was still so new: space qualified components had to be developed, everything had to be flight tested and space-qualified, and then the engineering model had to be built, and then the flight model had to be made, taking very small steps. Now we can take bigger steps; the Naval Research Lab (NRL), for example, in the Clementine experiment showed how they could do things with less cost and take bigger risks. NASA chief Dan Goldin has been preaching this approach for the last several years. And NASA is doing things faster and quicker, and cheaper, although some critics say you can have only two of those three things together, but not all three. </p>
+
It allows them to do things faster, and do many things that we couldn’t have done before. Computational capability wasn’t there. If you have to reduce some ambiguity or clean up some clutter, you have to do a lot of computation. It couldn’t be done without modern electronics and integrated circuits. I guess the other big thing is the fact that nowadays communications is getting to be so that a user terminal has to be user friendly, and the terminal has to be small, like handheld mechanisms. Since these new systems developed, now everybody wants a handheld unit like Iridium is focusing on, and via satellite. That couldn’t have been done thirty years ago. Also, thirty years ago everything was still so new: space qualified components had to be developed, everything had to be flight tested and space-qualified, and then the engineering model had to be built, and then the flight model had to be made, taking very small steps. Now we can take bigger steps; the Naval Research Lab (NRL), for example, in the Clementine experiment showed how they could do things with less cost and take bigger risks. NASA chief Dan Goldin has been preaching this approach for the last several years. And NASA is doing things faster and quicker, and cheaper, although some critics say you can have only two of those three things together, but not all three.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Right. I heard a talk a while ago by the principal scientist on the space station program. It was a political thing, and he was reassuring people about our Russian partners and what we could expect from them. This was right about the time that there was an American astronaut on the Mir, and they were having all kinds of fires and electrical outages. He claimed that the Russians use basically cheap, off-the-shelf inferior components, but that they do a lot of backup. For instance if you need a battery, instead of designing a special battery that would do what you need, you take twenty batteries off the shelf and you line them all up, and as they fail one at a time you throw them out, and you still have backup. But of course in the American space station we are focused on designing for space, like you were saying. Now maybe we want to step back a little bit. </p>
+
Right. I heard a talk a while ago by the principal scientist on the space station program. It was a political thing, and he was reassuring people about our Russian partners and what we could expect from them. This was right about the time that there was an American astronaut on the Mir, and they were having all kinds of fires and electrical outages. He claimed that the Russians use basically cheap, off-the-shelf inferior components, but that they do a lot of backup. For instance if you need a battery, instead of designing a special battery that would do what you need, you take twenty batteries off the shelf and you line them all up, and as they fail one at a time you throw them out, and you still have backup. But of course in the American space station we are focused on designing for space, like you were saying. Now maybe we want to step back a little bit.  
  
 
=== Iridium satellite phone system  ===
 
=== Iridium satellite phone system  ===
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Six or seven years ago I went and visited the Ford Aerospace people, before they got their name changed and merged into something else, while I was at NASA Headquarters. They showed me what they were proposing to the INTELSAT people for their follow-up spacecraft, and they were coming to an approach like the automobile industry – a “just in time” kind of approach where you depend on your supplier to do all the proper testing, and the lead time has been reduced. In the old days, five years was a typical time; now it’s eighteen months that are required from conception to actual flight. You have to give some of the Iridium types credit that they have built so many dozens of these satellites and that they can do it like an assembly line and build them fast. Now Hughes has done the same thing on a bigger scale for their model HS-601, and they have a 700 model, where they’ve got about forty of them on order. 'Till some years ago, there were only ten or fifteen satellites, and now there is demand for more and more, and they have got it all down pat. They know how to build them and how to modify them for each customer, put a little option here, change the antenna size there, or whatever. Now things are done faster, cost less, and a wider market and more diverse community is served. </p>
+
<flashmp3>357 - durrani - clip 4.mp3</flashmp3>  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
Six or seven years ago I went and visited the Ford Aerospace people, before they got their name changed and merged into something else, while I was at NASA Headquarters. They showed me what they were proposing to the INTELSAT people for their follow-up spacecraft, and they were coming to an approach like the automobile industry – a “just in time” kind of approach where you depend on your supplier to do all the proper testing, and the lead time has been reduced. In the old days, five years was a typical time; now it’s eighteen months that are required from conception to actual flight. You have to give some of the Iridium types credit that they have built so many dozens of these satellites and that they can do it like an assembly line and build them fast. Now Hughes has done the same thing on a bigger scale for their model HS-601, and they have a 700 model, where they’ve got about forty of them on order. 'Till some years ago, there were only ten or fifteen satellites, and now there is demand for more and more, and they have got it all down pat. They know how to build them and how to modify them for each customer, put a little option here, change the antenna size there, or whatever. Now things are done faster, cost less, and a wider market and more diverse community is served.
  
<p>Did you envision that in your earlier years? You were probably designing for really centralized things. </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
Did you envision that in your earlier years? You were probably designing for really centralized things.
  
<p>The early designs used large ground stations, but later on the emphasis was to reduce dish size. Ten or fifteen years ago there was a kit you could get for $4,000 or $5,000 to put in your backyard with a 10-foot antenna. Now you can do it with a 10 or 12 inch dish. People did envision and talk about smaller terminals, but not on this scale. One of the things we all have to recognize and acknowledge is that space activity is not a one-man visionary thing, as it was in the old days. The Wright Brothers or Von Braun, or Goddard did a unique thing. They were really visionaries and actually did something with it themselves. Nowadays, thousands of people have to get involved, and large teams are involved for concept development, implementation, and operation, and it’s not just one individual. Maybe we should give credit to the team at Iridium, for example, for having stuck through and gotten the system built, but the seeds were there fifteen years before. People knew what could be achieved with such satellites; they just didn’t want to put up that much money. These guys said, “Well, let’s get $3 billion and let’s put up sixty-six satellites and several spares in orbit,” and they succeeded in having the system in place.'''Geselowitz:''' Since you brought it up and are an expert: What do you think about Iridium now that they’re back in the news in a negative light? Do you think it was just strictly business mistakes, or were there some technological issues involved?'''Durrani:''' I think it is not even a "business mistake" but rather some miscalculations and some programmatic delays. We have to hand it to them. They stuck with it in spite of all the skepticism, and they raised all the money. They got licensing agreements with so many foreign countries, which is a backbreaking job that takes years and years. They miscalculated the cost of handheld units. I think they were projecting seven hundred dollars for the handheld units, and it’s actually much more. Also, they had assumed a big market, but they only have a few hundred buyers at the moment. At one point their shares went up to $76, and now they’re down to $6 or $7. It’s unfortunate. I know some people, like Bill Pritchard and Burt Edelson, were very skeptical that they would succeed. But if anybody was able to succeed, I think these people had the chance to succeed. They might still come back. </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
The early designs used large ground stations, but later on the emphasis was to reduce dish size. Ten or fifteen years ago there was a kit you could get for $4,000 or $5,000 to put in your backyard with a 10-foot antenna. Now you can do it with a 10 or 12 inch dish. People did envision and talk about smaller terminals, but not on this scale. One of the things we all have to recognize and acknowledge is that space activity is not a one-man visionary thing, as it was in the old days. The Wright Brothers or Von Braun, or Goddard did a unique thing. They were really visionaries and actually did something with it themselves. Nowadays, thousands of people have to get involved, and large teams are involved for concept development, implementation, and operation, and it’s not just one individual. Maybe we should give credit to the team at Iridium, for example, for having stuck through and gotten the system built, but the seeds were there fifteen years before. People knew what could be achieved with such satellites; they just didn’t want to put up that much money. These guys said, “Well, let’s get $3 billion and let’s put up sixty-six satellites and several spares in orbit,” and they succeeded in having the system in place.'''Geselowitz:''' Since you brought it up and are an expert: What do you think about Iridium now that they’re back in the news in a negative light? Do you think it was just strictly business mistakes, or were there some technological issues involved?'''Durrani:''' I think it is not even a "business mistake" but rather some miscalculations and some programmatic delays. We have to hand it to them. They stuck with it in spite of all the skepticism, and they raised all the money. They got licensing agreements with so many foreign countries, which is a backbreaking job that takes years and years. They miscalculated the cost of handheld units. I think they were projecting seven hundred dollars for the handheld units, and it’s actually much more. Also, they had assumed a big market, but they only have a few hundred buyers at the moment. At one point their shares went up to $76, and now they’re down to $6 or $7. It’s unfortunate. I know some people, like Bill Pritchard and Burt Edelson, were very skeptical that they would succeed. But if anybody was able to succeed, I think these people had the chance to succeed. They might still come back.
  
<p>They might still pull it off. </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
They might still pull it off.
  
<p>Yes. Although it looks very discouraging. I don’t know which company it was, but one company was saying their handheld unit would be $2,500, and that’s much too expensive. </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
Yes. Although it looks very discouraging. I don’t know which company it was, but one company was saying their handheld unit would be $2,500, and that’s much too expensive.
  
<p>Right. I heard a commentator on National Public Radio say that they somehow thought that all international business travelers would want one. This guy thought there was a market out there for cellular phones, but what he didn’t realize was that these business men who are from emerging countries and are already tapping into the international marketplace are in countries where the infrastructure has not caught up with that technology. </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
Right. I heard a commentator on National Public Radio say that they somehow thought that all international business travelers would want one. This guy thought there was a market out there for cellular phones, but what he didn’t realize was that these business men who are from emerging countries and are already tapping into the international marketplace are in countries where the infrastructure has not caught up with that technology.
  
<p>True. </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
True.
  
<p>In his capital city he may have good cellular coverage, but if he goes outside the city he loses it, and satellite will be the way to stay in touch. He also has the money. But if it’s a poor country with no cellular coverage and no one has the money to buy $2,500 or even $500 dollar handheld units, it doesn’t do you any good. </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
In his capital city he may have good cellular coverage, but if he goes outside the city he loses it, and satellite will be the way to stay in touch. He also has the money. But if it’s a poor country with no cellular coverage and no one has the money to buy $2,500 or even $500 dollar handheld units, it doesn’t do you any good.
  
<p>That’s true. When I was in Pakistan, I visited one company that’s trying to market Iridium, and that’s one of the problems they have. The infrastructure is not there, and not many people can afford to buy these units. I think they will still pull through and come out of it alright. I hope so. Otherwise there will be a chilling effect. COMSAT went through a similar thing, after I had left working for them. COMSAT lost $300 or $400 million at one time. They had put a lot of money into direct broadcasting system planning and so on, and at that time the demand wasn’t there, because they weren’t aiming at individuals with these 13” dishes. They were still talking of community TV or head-ends for cable TV and TV distribution to apartment complexes. </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
That’s true. When I was in Pakistan, I visited one company that’s trying to market Iridium, and that’s one of the problems they have. The infrastructure is not there, and not many people can afford to buy these units. I think they will still pull through and come out of it alright. I hope so. Otherwise there will be a chilling effect. COMSAT went through a similar thing, after I had left working for them. COMSAT lost $300 or $400 million at one time. They had put a lot of money into direct broadcasting system planning and so on, and at that time the demand wasn’t there, because they weren’t aiming at individuals with these 13” dishes. They were still talking of community TV or head-ends for cable TV and TV distribution to apartment complexes.
  
<p>Right. Cable TV would have to take it and distribute it by land wire. </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
Right. Cable TV would have to take it and distribute it by land wire.
  
<p>Right. They got out of that business. There are some risks involved. </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''
 +
 
 +
Right. They got out of that business. There are some risks involved.  
  
 
=== IEEE Technical Societies  ===
 
=== IEEE Technical Societies  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You mentioned that you were a member of the Communications Society. We talked earlier about the AESS being the broadest society, with a finger in so many pies. I’m curious to know what other professional groups or technical societies you belonged to, and how and when you belonged to them. One of your colleagues I am going to be interviewing was actually president of two different societies, and I wonder how common that is. </p>
+
You mentioned that you were a member of the Communications Society. We talked earlier about the AESS being the broadest society, with a finger in so many pies. I’m curious to know what other professional groups or technical societies you belonged to, and how and when you belonged to them. One of your colleagues I am going to be interviewing was actually president of two different societies, and I wonder how common that is.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>[[Warren Cooper Oral History|Warren Cooper]]. </p>
+
[[Oral-History:Warren Cooper|Warren Cooper]].  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Right. Warren was the president of MTTS in 1975 and then in 1986 he was president of AESS. I’m interested in hearing about your own personal experience in memberships, and how you feel about how AESS interacts with other technical societies as well as outside societies. I am thinking particularly of the AIAA, which even though they only do systems seems to be a group with some overlap. </p>
+
Right. Warren was the president of MTTS in 1975 and then in 1986 he was president of AESS. I’m interested in hearing about your own personal experience in memberships, and how you feel about how AESS interacts with other technical societies as well as outside societies. I am thinking particularly of the AIAA, which even though they only do systems seems to be a group with some overlap.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>I personally belonged at one time to the MTTS, I belonged to the Antennas and Propagation Society for a couple of years, and was a member of the Communications Society for a longer period. I joined AESS much later, but I felt I found a home there more easily, maybe because it is a smaller society compared to the Communications Society. The [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communications Society]] had a lot of academic people. I had to choose one or the other. I was in one of the [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communication Society’s]] committees for a while, the Communication Theory Committee, because I was interested in modulation and coding and so on. I went to a few meetings, but didn’t do anything more than that. Some of my friends whom I regard highly are there, and I benefit from conversing with them, but I never took an active role in that society. Warren Cooper is a unique individual. Ed Wolf was also president of two societies. He was president of the Engineering Management Society, and after a time he was also president of the Antennas and Propagation Society. He never became AESS president, but I think he is a member of the AESS. Very rarely, but sometimes people do have very active roles in two societies. Your question was whether I personally had taken a more active part in any of the other societies. </p>
+
I personally belonged at one time to the MTTS, I belonged to the Antennas and Propagation Society for a couple of years, and was a member of the Communications Society for a longer period. I joined AESS much later, but I felt I found a home there more easily, maybe because it is a smaller society compared to the Communications Society. The [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communications Society]] had a lot of academic people. I had to choose one or the other. I was in one of the [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communication Society’s]] committees for a while, the Communication Theory Committee, because I was interested in modulation and coding and so on. I went to a few meetings, but didn’t do anything more than that. Some of my friends whom I regard highly are there, and I benefit from conversing with them, but I never took an active role in that society. Warren Cooper is a unique individual. Ed Wolf was also president of two societies. He was president of the Engineering Management Society, and after a time he was also president of the Antennas and Propagation Society. He never became AESS president, but I think he is a member of the AESS. Very rarely, but sometimes people do have very active roles in two societies. Your question was whether I personally had taken a more active part in any of the other societies.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Yes. </p>
+
Yes.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Very minimally. One of the things close to my heart is collaboration between societies, but it doesn't work out. I tried a few times with the [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communications Society]] to form joint conferences. We used to have a National Communications Conference (NCC), and Globecom, jointly run by our two societies. When [[Oral-History:Donald Schilling|Don Schilling]] was president of the Communications Society, some of their members were gung ho against working with the AES Society. They felt it was a drag on their enthusiasm or whatever, so they decided to split and said, “You take some conferences and we’ll take some others.” They kept Globecom, and we changed the name of NCC to NTC, National Telesystems Conference or something, because they didn’t want the words "Communications" to appear in the name of a conference run by the AESS. We ran NTC for a few years. Very often there is reluctance on the part of Society boards to join other societies. They think it might end up diluting their turf. Then they tried to put societies into Divisions. I was Division director for two years, and we had the AESS Society and four other societies – Broadcasting Technology, I think was one of them. </p>
+
Very minimally. One of the things close to my heart is collaboration between societies, but it doesn't work out. I tried a few times with the [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communications Society]] to form joint conferences. We used to have a National Communications Conference (NCC), and Globecom, jointly run by our two societies. When [[Oral-History:Donald Schilling|Don Schilling]] was president of the Communications Society, some of their members were gung ho against working with the AES Society. They felt it was a drag on their enthusiasm or whatever, so they decided to split and said, “You take some conferences and we’ll take some others.” They kept Globecom, and we changed the name of NCC to NTC, National Telesystems Conference or something, because they didn’t want the words "Communications" to appear in the name of a conference run by the AESS. We ran NTC for a few years. Very often there is reluctance on the part of Society boards to join other societies. They think it might end up diluting their turf. Then they tried to put societies into Divisions. I was Division director for two years, and we had the AESS Society and four other societies – Broadcasting Technology, I think was one of them.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Which division was that? </p>
+
Which division was that?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Division 9. </p>
+
Division 9.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>That’s the division that when they don’t know what to do with you, they put you into that? </p>
+
That’s the division that when they don’t know what to do with you, they put you into that?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>No, this Division was Signals and Processing. There is another one, where they put societies that don't fit elsewhere. I think that’s Division 6 – Cybernetics and so on. </p>
+
No, this Division was Signals and Processing. There is another one, where they put societies that don't fit elsewhere. I think that’s Division 6 – Cybernetics and so on.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>[[IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society History|Systems, Man and Cybernetics]]. [[IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society History|Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS)]] I think might be in there. </p>
+
[[IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society History|Systems, Man and Cybernetics]]. [[IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society History|Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS)]] I think might be in there.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>But I was not in that Division. I was in the other one called Signals and Processing. We had the [[IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society History|Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society]], and also the [[IEEE Signal Processing Society History|Signal Processing Society]]. They are much bigger than we are. The [[IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society History|Ocean Engineering Society]] also used to be in it. I went to a few of their meetings. People were on an individual basis very cordial and said it was great, and they would like to work together, but it becomes an issue of turf and bureaucracy, I suppose. Each one wants to do their own thing. </p>
+
But I was not in that Division. I was in the other one called Signals and Processing. We had the [[IEEE Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control Society History|Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society]], and also the [[IEEE Signal Processing Society History|Signal Processing Society]]. They are much bigger than we are. The [[IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society History|Ocean Engineering Society]] also used to be in it. I went to a few of their meetings. People were on an individual basis very cordial and said it was great, and they would like to work together, but it becomes an issue of turf and bureaucracy, I suppose. Each one wants to do their own thing.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>How about outside groups like the AIAA? Do we have much cooperation with them? </p>
+
How about outside groups like the AIAA? Do we have much cooperation with them?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Unfortunately, not much. For example, the AIAA took a big lead, and they hold a conference every two years called the International Communication Satellite Systems Conference. It is a prestigious conference. I had hoped that the [[IEEE History|IEEE]] would either do something like it or collaborate with them, but it goes beyond the level of one society like AESS trying to work it out. We tried also to work with the SME, the Society of Mechanical Engineers. We do some things jointly. These are mechanical engineers and also automotive engineers. Autotestcon is one conference that has eight or nine different societies, some non-IEEE. In some other conferences we used to have a similar relationship with non-IEEE societies, but each time we had to go through a lot of bylaw changes and charter clarifications, it takes time to work things out. Autotestcon is a very successful one. It’s going to be held I think around the same time that the AESS Board is meeting in San Antonio. </p>
+
Unfortunately, not much. For example, the AIAA took a big lead, and they hold a conference every two years called the International Communication Satellite Systems Conference. It is a prestigious conference. I had hoped that the [[IEEE History|IEEE]] would either do something like it or collaborate with them, but it goes beyond the level of one society like AESS trying to work it out. We tried also to work with the SME, the Society of Mechanical Engineers. We do some things jointly. These are mechanical engineers and also automotive engineers. Autotestcon is one conference that has eight or nine different societies, some non-IEEE. In some other conferences we used to have a similar relationship with non-IEEE societies, but each time we had to go through a lot of bylaw changes and charter clarifications, it takes time to work things out. Autotestcon is a very successful one. It’s going to be held I think around the same time that the AESS Board is meeting in San Antonio.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Isn’t the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society involved in that also? </p>
+
Isn’t the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society involved in that also?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Probably. </p>
+
Probably.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>That society must have some overlap. They are more ground-oriented, rather than space-oriented but they are dealing with complex systems. </p>
+
That society must have some overlap. They are more ground-oriented, rather than space-oriented but they are dealing with complex systems.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>That’s a very small society, and I don’t know how active they are. I plead ignorance. But I meet some of their members occasionally. At one time Vehicular Technology was part of the Division, which had the [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communications Society]], but now they have broken up I think, because the [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communications Society]] became a division of their own. </p>
+
That’s a very small society, and I don’t know how active they are. I plead ignorance. But I meet some of their members occasionally. At one time Vehicular Technology was part of the Division, which had the [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communications Society]], but now they have broken up I think, because the [[IEEE Communications Society History|Communications Society]] became a division of their own.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Because they were too big. </p>
+
Because they were too big.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Too big. </p>
+
Too big.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>And the [[IEEE Computer Society History|Computer Society]] gets two divisions. </p>
+
And the [[IEEE Computer Society History|Computer Society]] gets two divisions.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>CS’s membership is about 90,000 and ComSoc has about 30,000 or 40,000 members, so they each qualify to have their own divisions. Coming back to collaboration, IEEE had a solid-state council for example in which AESS was a member, and several others, [[Electron Devices|Electron Devices]] and so on, every society which had integrated circuit people, applied to be on it. </p>
+
CS’s membership is about 90,000 and ComSoc has about 30,000 or 40,000 members, so they each qualify to have their own divisions. Coming back to collaboration, IEEE had a solid-state council for example in which AESS was a member, and several others, [[Archives:Fifty Years of Electron Devices: The IEEE Electron Devices Society and Its Technologies|Electron Devices]] and so on, every society which had integrated circuit people, applied to be on it.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>I understand the [[IEEE Industrial Electronics Society History|Industrial Electronics Society]] and the [[IEEE Industry Applications Society History|Industry Application Society]] are both in it, and the [[IEEE Power Electronics Society History|Power Electronics Society]] too. </p>
+
I understand the [[IEEE Industrial Electronics Society History|Industrial Electronics Society]] and the [[IEEE Industry Applications Society History|Industry Application Society]] are both in it, and the [[IEEE Power Electronics Society History|Power Electronics Society]] too.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Yes, right. As another example, [[Oral-History:Henry Oman|Henry Oman]] can probably tell you how he managed to get Energy Conversion conference, IECEC, off the ground, and he was very successful in getting several IEEE and non-IEEE societies together. For many years there were seven participants, IEEE plus six others. Within IEEE there were two Societies. Now I think it has broken up because there wasn’t enough demand, or it was too expensive, and AESS and Electronic Devices societies withdrew and then some others withdrew in December last year. There is a mechanism for societies that have mutual interests to set up a Council, and later that Council may become a full-fledged Society by itself. </p>
+
Yes, right. As another example, [[Oral-History:Henry Oman|Henry Oman]] can probably tell you how he managed to get Energy Conversion conference, IECEC, off the ground, and he was very successful in getting several IEEE and non-IEEE societies together. For many years there were seven participants, IEEE plus six others. Within IEEE there were two Societies. Now I think it has broken up because there wasn’t enough demand, or it was too expensive, and AESS and Electronic Devices societies withdrew and then some others withdrew in December last year. There is a mechanism for societies that have mutual interests to set up a Council, and later that Council may become a full-fledged Society by itself.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>And as a result we now have thirty-seven of them. </p>
+
And as a result we now have thirty-seven of them.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Right. </p>
+
Right.  
  
 
=== Key Events in Space Communications  ===
 
=== Key Events in Space Communications  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>On the technology side, in space communication systems, if you were going to name a series of key events, starting with Sputnik as the first one, if you were doing a poster with pictures, what specific events would you highlight? </p>
+
On the technology side, in space communication systems, if you were going to name a series of key events, starting with Sputnik as the first one, if you were doing a poster with pictures, what specific events would you highlight?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>The AESS is putting together a special issue of the Systems Magazine to commemorate the Society's 50th anniversary, which coincides with the year 2000. The special issue will have eight or ten articles, tracing the developments in various fields of interest to AESS over the last 40 or 50 years. I was asked to write the article on space communications, and it covers the events starting with Sputnik that you asked about. Here is a draft of the article. </p>
+
The AESS is putting together a special issue of the Systems Magazine to commemorate the Society's 50th anniversary, which coincides with the year 2000. The special issue will have eight or ten articles, tracing the developments in various fields of interest to AESS over the last 40 or 50 years. I was asked to write the article on space communications, and it covers the events starting with Sputnik that you asked about. Here is a draft of the article.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Can I get a draft copy? </p>
+
Can I get a draft copy?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Well, I revised it, and then I couldn’t find the revised copy. But sure, you can take this one if you want. I took several things out of it after the reviewer said it was more detailed than it needed to be. You had also asked me to look at some of these decade things, and that’s what I wrote on the back here. Its title is Compendium of Communication and Broadcast Satellites, 1958 to 1980 </p>
+
Well, I revised it, and then I couldn’t find the revised copy. But sure, you can take this one if you want. I took several things out of it after the reviewer said it was more detailed than it needed to be. You had also asked me to look at some of these decade things, and that’s what I wrote on the back here. Its title is Compendium of Communication and Broadcast Satellites, 1958 to 1980  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>We have it. Okay. </p>
+
We have it. Okay.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>It has pictures of the satellites, what happened, when they were launched, who built them and so forth. There are so many events that stand out. The Courier was one experimental satellite, the Relay was another one. The first Syncom failed, but the second Syncom established the fact that you could work from a stationary satellite. Telstar was another big thing; it was an experimental satellite launched in ’62, and Syncom was typical of an operational satellite. Telstar, as you know, was developed by Bell Labs and AT&amp;T. Then came ATS-1 through ATS-6, the NASA spacecraft. The ATS-6 was the big one that had the big, 30-foot antenna. Also in the ‘60s commercial systems were starting, with INTELSAT. And the Initial Defense Communication Satellite, which used small satellites. Lincoln Labs developed a series of experimental satellites as well, called LES. </p>
+
It has pictures of the satellites, what happened, when they were launched, who built them and so forth. There are so many events that stand out. The Courier was one experimental satellite, the Relay was another one. The first Syncom failed, but the second Syncom established the fact that you could work from a stationary satellite. Telstar was another big thing; it was an experimental satellite launched in ’62, and Syncom was typical of an operational satellite. Telstar, as you know, was developed by Bell Labs and AT&amp;T. Then came ATS-1 through ATS-6, the NASA spacecraft. The ATS-6 was the big one that had the big, 30-foot antenna. Also in the ‘60s commercial systems were starting, with INTELSAT. And the Initial Defense Communication Satellite, which used small satellites. Lincoln Labs developed a series of experimental satellites as well, called LES.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>INTELSAT-1 is probably important because of the international cooperation involved. </p>
+
INTELSAT-1 is probably important because of the international cooperation involved.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Correct. That was in 1965 I believe, the first flight. The LESs were important, because they focused on how to get communication to small terminals on the ground. Then in the ‘70s many domestic satellites started. The Canadians started, and the U.S. followed with Comstar and then Satcom, and then the Indonesians, and so forth. Many of them are listed in the book. And then of course the Russian series. And in the ‘80s many others just building up on these. </p>
+
Correct. That was in 1965 I believe, the first flight. The LESs were important, because they focused on how to get communication to small terminals on the ground. Then in the ‘70s many domestic satellites started. The Canadians started, and the U.S. followed with Comstar and then Satcom, and then the Indonesians, and so forth. Many of them are listed in the book. And then of course the Russian series. And in the ‘80s many others just building up on these.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>A continuation really. </p>
+
A continuation really.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>So the big things would have been those three or four that I mentioned earlier, plus the proliferation of these domestic satellites. </p>
+
So the big things would have been those three or four that I mentioned earlier, plus the proliferation of these domestic satellites.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>The ‘70s is the individual countries with their domestic systems. </p>
+
The ‘70s is the individual countries with their domestic systems.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Yes, and in the ‘80s they got more powerful. I would say the ‘90s is the result, allowing the use of very small earth terminals or ground stations, so long as you have the capability to put a large satellite in orbit. </p>
+
Yes, and in the ‘80s they got more powerful. I would say the ‘90s is the result, allowing the use of very small earth terminals or ground stations, so long as you have the capability to put a large satellite in orbit.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>If we want to make it a broader historical perspective, the ‘90s is not just in the satellites, but in communication and other areas. In the ‘60s was international cooperation on the government level, in the ‘70s we had domestic, and now we’re seeing transnational corporations. It’s international, but it’s like Iridium. </p>
+
If we want to make it a broader historical perspective, the ‘90s is not just in the satellites, but in communication and other areas. In the ‘60s was international cooperation on the government level, in the ‘70s we had domestic, and now we’re seeing transnational corporations. It’s international, but it’s like Iridium.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>I see. Yes. </p>
+
I see. Yes.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>It’s private companies trying to make international arrangements. Is that correct? </p>
+
It’s private companies trying to make international arrangements. Is that correct?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>It’s correct. But I’ll make two points on that. One point is that the communication industry as a whole has benefited from deregulation and privatization, so that there is more competition, more innovation and more collaboration wherever it is necessary, productive and beneficial. The other point I’d like to make is that it’s not only international government-to-government or business-to-business, but it’s becoming more of a personal communication now. There are your cellular handheld phones, and now there are handheld units for international communication, so many of these— </p>
+
It’s correct. But I’ll make two points on that. One point is that the communication industry as a whole has benefited from deregulation and privatization, so that there is more competition, more innovation and more collaboration wherever it is necessary, productive and beneficial. The other point I’d like to make is that it’s not only international government-to-government or business-to-business, but it’s becoming more of a personal communication now. There are your cellular handheld phones, and now there are handheld units for international communication, so many of these—  
  
 
=== Role of Satellites in Telecommunications Today  ===
 
=== Role of Satellites in Telecommunications Today  ===
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>We’ll finish up the interview by talking about what part satellites play in telecommunication today. </p>
+
We’ll finish up the interview by talking about what part satellites play in telecommunication today.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>You also asked what would be the typical things you might put on a poster, for example, showing progress over these years. </p>
+
You also asked what would be the typical things you might put on a poster, for example, showing progress over these years.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Yes, I did ask that. </p>
+
Yes, I did ask that.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>It depends on how much space you use or how many posters, but you might want to consider putting up one of early programs, such as Relay or Courier. Pictures are available in the old IEEE Press publications as well as James Martin’s books, which have a lot of neat drawings. As an intermediate thing you could put one of the early domestic satellites, such as one of the Aniks or the Indonesian Palapas. As a comparison you could then put a small Early Bird. The INTELSAT-5 or -8 or -9, of whichever one you could get a picture. INTELSAT-9 has not been launched, but up to 8 they have been launched. They look similar to each other from 5 onwards. Or you could put one of these mobile satellites. For land mobiles, the American Mobile Satellite Corporation has a satellite system that is not doing well financially, but the construction of the satellite is very similar to others for mobile services. The Australians have used the same type of satellite (HS601), and other governments have used it, such as Mexico, and the military has used it. So it is a basic model, which is customized for different users. You could use Iridium type satellites as the latest model. I would leave out Teledesic at the moment, although they have filed formally that they are going to put 288 satellites in orbit working at very high frequencies. They will try to interconnect computer terminals, networking and so on using satellites. Those five or six types of satellites could cover fixed and mobile communications. But then if you have space, I would suggest one of the Search and Rescue satellites. There are several programs for search and rescue with U.S., Russia, Canada, France and others collaborating. </p>
+
It depends on how much space you use or how many posters, but you might want to consider putting up one of early programs, such as Relay or Courier. Pictures are available in the old IEEE Press publications as well as James Martin’s books, which have a lot of neat drawings. As an intermediate thing you could put one of the early domestic satellites, such as one of the Aniks or the Indonesian Palapas. As a comparison you could then put a small Early Bird. The INTELSAT-5 or -8 or -9, of whichever one you could get a picture. INTELSAT-9 has not been launched, but up to 8 they have been launched. They look similar to each other from 5 onwards. Or you could put one of these mobile satellites. For land mobiles, the American Mobile Satellite Corporation has a satellite system that is not doing well financially, but the construction of the satellite is very similar to others for mobile services. The Australians have used the same type of satellite (HS601), and other governments have used it, such as Mexico, and the military has used it. So it is a basic model, which is customized for different users. You could use Iridium type satellites as the latest model. I would leave out Teledesic at the moment, although they have filed formally that they are going to put 288 satellites in orbit working at very high frequencies. They will try to interconnect computer terminals, networking and so on using satellites. Those five or six types of satellites could cover fixed and mobile communications. But then if you have space, I would suggest one of the Search and Rescue satellites. There are several programs for search and rescue with U.S., Russia, Canada, France and others collaborating.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>How about [[Global Positioning System|GPS]]? </p>
+
How about [[Global Positioning System|GPS]]?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>[[Myron Kayton Oral History|Myron Kayton]] is the expert on [[Global Positioning System|GPS]]. </p>
+
[[Oral-History:Myron Kayton|Myron Kayton]] is the expert on [[Global Positioning System|GPS]].  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>I also might get a chance to talk to [[Oral-History:Brad Parkinson|Brad Parkinson]]. </p>
+
I also might get a chance to talk to [[Oral-History:Brad Parkinson|Brad Parkinson]].  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Beautiful. Yes. He is the right person for that. </p>
+
Beautiful. Yes. He is the right person for that.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>I called his secretary because he travels a lot, but he’s very busy right now. I heard on National Public Radio that there’s a little glitch in the early GPS system, and people with older units may be experiencing a problem. There was only 1,024 weeks, only 1k of memory. </p>
+
I called his secretary because he travels a lot, but he’s very busy right now. I heard on National Public Radio that there’s a little glitch in the early GPS system, and people with older units may be experiencing a problem. There was only 1,024 weeks, only 1k of memory.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>But I doubt many of those users are still around. [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] became popular when the newer equipment came in on the market. </p>
+
But I doubt many of those users are still around. [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] became popular when the newer equipment came in on the market.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Right, but apparently enough that he’s traveling around and talking to a lot of people and very busy. </p>
+
Right, but apparently enough that he’s traveling around and talking to a lot of people and very busy.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Is he still at Stanford? </p>
+
Is he still at Stanford?  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Yes, he’s at Stanford. </p>
+
Yes, he’s at Stanford.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>So those are the kinds of pictures you might want to show. If you want to show experimental satellites, then the ACTS is a big one. It’s still operational, the Advanced Communication Technology Satellite. Goddard gave up that program. When I went to NASA Headquarters for two years, at that time my main job was as the chief scientist in the communications division, helping to justify that project to OMB. We would clear all the channels within NASA, and the NASA administrator would sign off and approve it, but OMB would object to it. Then Congress would put it back in the budget. It got delayed and delayed, and it was finally launched in ’93, though it should have been launched in ’83. That’s another major satellite that you could show, because it’s allowed a lot of good work to be done by many principal investigators. </p>
+
So those are the kinds of pictures you might want to show. If you want to show experimental satellites, then the ACTS is a big one. It’s still operational, the Advanced Communication Technology Satellite. Goddard gave up that program. When I went to NASA Headquarters for two years, at that time my main job was as the chief scientist in the communications division, helping to justify that project to OMB. We would clear all the channels within NASA, and the NASA administrator would sign off and approve it, but OMB would object to it. Then Congress would put it back in the budget. It got delayed and delayed, and it was finally launched in ’93, though it should have been launched in ’83. That’s another major satellite that you could show, because it’s allowed a lot of good work to be done by many principal investigators.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>What about non-orbital spacecraft, useful spacecraft like the shuttle and these others we send out to other planets which we don’t expect back but with which we still communicate, do telemetry, and track? Is that the same sort of space communication system, or is that a whole separate category? </p>
+
What about non-orbital spacecraft, useful spacecraft like the shuttle and these others we send out to other planets which we don’t expect back but with which we still communicate, do telemetry, and track? Is that the same sort of space communication system, or is that a whole separate category?  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>It’s very similar. The telemetry for the other spacecraft would be very similar to the telemetry for one that goes to the planets. It’s just that the rate will be very low because of the astronomical distances. JPL is very often happy with just a few bits per second, whereas we want kilobits or megabits per second on most of our spacecraft. There aren’t that many other fundamental differences, except that some people are putting more and more autonomy on board and more miniaturization. They think you could build new spacecraft which might not need so much of ground control, ground monitoring and ground operations; they could do all of their navigation autonomously, they could shut off a certain system if the battery is being drained and turn it on when the time comes and when the sun angle is right, and so on. There might be improvements of that kind. </p>
+
It’s very similar. The telemetry for the other spacecraft would be very similar to the telemetry for one that goes to the planets. It’s just that the rate will be very low because of the astronomical distances. JPL is very often happy with just a few bits per second, whereas we want kilobits or megabits per second on most of our spacecraft. There aren’t that many other fundamental differences, except that some people are putting more and more autonomy on board and more miniaturization. They think you could build new spacecraft which might not need so much of ground control, ground monitoring and ground operations; they could do all of their navigation autonomously, they could shut off a certain system if the battery is being drained and turn it on when the time comes and when the sun angle is right, and so on. There might be improvements of that kind.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Regarding the effect of the Internet, you wanted to make a couple points about the ‘90s. You mentioned deregulation and personal communication as opposed to group communication. </p>
+
Regarding the effect of the Internet, you wanted to make a couple points about the ‘90s. You mentioned deregulation and personal communication as opposed to group communication.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Right. Going to smaller and smaller ground terminals. Some of the social scientist types used to predict that satellites might lead to a social global village. That is coming closer to reality now, and you can find people becoming very globally conscious, because they get the news instantaneously from everywhere. I have seen this everywhere in my travels around the world. </p>
+
Right. Going to smaller and smaller ground terminals. Some of the social scientist types used to predict that satellites might lead to a social global village. That is coming closer to reality now, and you can find people becoming very globally conscious, because they get the news instantaneously from everywhere. I have seen this everywhere in my travels around the world.  
  
 
=== Speaking at IEEE section meetings around the world  ===
 
=== Speaking at IEEE section meetings around the world  ===
  
<p>Another benefit of having belonged to [[IEEE History|IEEE]] are programs such as the distinguished lecturer program for experts in AESS. [[Oral-History:Myron Kayton|Myron Kayton]] gives talks on [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] and navigation, [[Oral-History:Cary Spitzer|Cary Spitzer]] does it for avionics, and I am doing it for satellite communications. I’ve made a lot of friends because of that, and have gone on many trips to different parts of the world, wherever IEEE has Sections. </p>
+
Another benefit of having belonged to [[IEEE History|IEEE]] are programs such as the distinguished lecturer program for experts in AESS. [[Oral-History:Myron Kayton|Myron Kayton]] gives talks on [[Global Positioning System|GPS]] and navigation, [[Oral-History:Cary Spitzer|Cary Spitzer]] does it for avionics, and I am doing it for satellite communications. I’ve made a lot of friends because of that, and have gone on many trips to different parts of the world, wherever IEEE has Sections.  
 
+
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
 
+
<p>Does that help when you go back to Pakistan? Presumably [[IEEE Lahore Section History|there is a Section there]]. </p>
+
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>There is a Section there. </p>
+
Does that help when you go back to Pakistan? Presumably [[IEEE Lahore Section History|there is a Section there]].  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Do they welcome you? </p>
+
There is a Section there.
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Oh, yes. They asked me to give a talk there, and gave me a little plaque, and so on. It’s interesting that for example in Chile and Ecuador and the Far East, there are lots of Sections where I would not have originally thought they would be so eager to participate, but they know the program and they like the topic. You have to coordinate with three or five sections so that you don’t take a trip just to go to one place. I’ve gone on these types of trips about five different times to about 20 countries. I went to six cities in Australia and three in New Zealand. Other trips have been to Indonesia, Thailand, India, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. IEEE has a worldwide presence, and the people are professional, and on a personal basis very nice to meet, and it’s been a good experience. I hope to continue that kind of international collaboration and support. Your mentioning internationalization reminded me of this. </p>
+
Do they welcome you?
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Right. My point about the ‘90s is that there are multinational corporations interested as opposed to governments, and you made the point that it isn’t so much that as that communication is personal, so that you have individuals scattered across the globe. I suppose eventually, rather than communities with a 30-foot dish, each person can have their own very little dish. </p>
+
Oh, yes. They asked me to give a talk there, and gave me a little plaque, and so on. It’s interesting that for example in Chile and Ecuador and the Far East, there are lots of Sections where I would not have originally thought they would be so eager to participate, but they know the program and they like the topic. You have to coordinate with three or five sections so that you don’t take a trip just to go to one place. I’ve gone on these types of trips about five different times to about 20 countries. I went to six cities in Australia and three in New Zealand. Other trips have been to Indonesia, Thailand, India, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. IEEE has a worldwide presence, and the people are professional, and on a personal basis very nice to meet, and it’s been a good experience. I hope to continue that kind of international collaboration and support. Your mentioning internationalization reminded me of this.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>Yes. Or just a miniature antenna </p>
+
Right. My point about the ‘90s is that there are multinational corporations interested as opposed to governments, and you made the point that it isn’t so much that as that communication is personal, so that you have individuals scattered across the globe. I suppose eventually, rather than communities with a 30-foot dish, each person can have their own very little dish.
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>Right. Is there anything else you’d like to add? You’ve given me a great deal of food for thought. </p>
+
Yes. Or just a miniature antenna
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>No. </p>
+
Right. Is there anything else you’d like to add? You’ve given me a great deal of food for thought.  
  
<p>'''Geselowitz:''' </p>
+
'''Durrani:'''  
  
<p>You’ve given a great deal of food for thought. Thank you very much. </p>
+
No.  
  
<p>'''Durrani:''' </p>
+
'''Geselowitz:'''  
  
<p>You are welcome. </p>
+
You’ve given a great deal of food for thought. Thank you very much.  
  
<p></p>
+
'''Durrani:'''
  
<p></p>
+
You are welcome.
  
<p>[[Category:Power,_energy_&_industry_application|Category:Power,_energy_&amp;_industry_application]] [[Category:Communications|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]] [[Category:Radio_communication|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]] [[Category:Satellite_communication|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]] [[Category:Power_generation|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]] [[Category:Power_distribution|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]] [[Category:IEEE|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]] [[Category:Geographical_units|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]] [[Category:Societies|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]] [[Category:News|Oral-History:Sajjad Durrani]]</p>
+
[[Category:Power, energy & industry applications|Durrani]] [[Category:Communications|Durrani]] [[Category:Radio communication|Durrani]] [[Category:Satellite communication|Durrani]] [[Category:Power generation|Durrani]] [[Category:Power distribution|Durrani]] [[Category:IEEE|Durrani]] [[Category:Geographical units|Durrani]] [[Category:Societies|Durrani]] [[Category:News|Durrani]]

Revision as of 20:10, 28 March 2014

Contents

About Sajjad Durrani

Sajjad Durrani got his engineering degree in Lahore in 1949, his masters in the UK in transmission system analysis in 1952, and his PhD from the University of New Mexico. He switched from an early interest to power transmission to space communications. He taught engineering in Pakistan in the 1950s and in America in the 1960s worked at the RCA Space Center. He worked at NASA 1974-92, alternating his time at NASA between the HQ and Goddard. His career includes work on the Advanced Communication Technology Satellite, the Orbiting Data Relay Network, work as planning manager for the ground systems of the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite, INTELSAT and COMSAT, planning a broadcasting satellite system, system analysis and planning at NASA, Research and Planning Manager of NASCOM division within Goddard, and program manager in the Advanced Systems Office, of the Office of Space Communications. After his retirement he worked for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) as a consulting engineer on their contracts with Goddard. He has also recently worked for the UN Development Program in Pakistan, helping the Pakistani space program. He has been involved with the IEEE and the AESS for several decades, with particular interest in education issues—continuing education for engineers and engineering education in the high and middle schools. He discusses major tends and events in space communications history.

About the Interview

SAJJAD H. DURRANI: An Interview Conducted by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, 20 August 1999

Interview # 357 For the IEEE History Center The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.

Copyright Statement

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It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows: Sajjad H. Durrani, an oral history conducted in 1999 by Michael Geselowitz, IEEE History Center, New Brunswick, NJ, USA.

Interview

INTERVIEW: Sajjad H. Durrani
INTERVIEWER: Michael Geselowitz
DATE: 20 August 1999
PLACE: Olney, Maryland

Power systems in Pakistan. Teaching Power transmission and distribution.

Geselowitz:

We were talking about what you did after you received your engineering degree in Lahore in 1949, just after Pakistan’s independence.

Durrani:

Most of the emphasis was on power systems in those days. They were building a new grid system. I went and worked on setting up substations in a couple of places. Then I got an offer to teach at the school from where I had just graduated. I had been something like number two in the graduating class. I taught there for a year or two.

Geselowitz:

What did you teach there?

Durrani:

I taught power transmission and distribution. I don’t know how much personal detail you want, but when I did my B.A. India still had some British professors, and we had been disciplined rather well. I was in the University Officers Training Corps, where you have your shoes polished all the time and so forth. I was trying to get into some British school, and I applied for a Rhodes Scholarship. I was a finalist, but they said, “The last couple of years we have given that scholarship to a West Pakistani, so this year we will give it to an East Pakistani,” so I lost out on that. But a few months later I got this other scholarship which was a state scholarship to go to England and study there. My association was closer to England than with the U.S., and that’s why I went to England. I got my Master's there also in transmission system analysis, and my Master's thesis was on building an analyzer for simulating a power system. That was in l951-52 when there were no computers, and you had to do it all by analog simulation. I went back to Pakistan to teach after the scholarship was finished, because I was given that scholarship with the understanding, or condition, that I would go back to teach for five years. During the summer and some time after finishing the Master's degree in England I was working with some companies, and I enjoyed that. While I was teaching back in Pakistan, I went to Sweden for a few months during summer vacation, and added another month or so. There were hydroelectric power stations being built high up there near the Arctic Circle.

Geselowitz:

During this time were you still doing mathematical modeling and analog computer simulation?

Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico

Durrani:

I was mostly teaching, and wasn’t doing much research. That was one reason why I didn’t want to stick around too long. I wanted to go to the U.S., get a Ph.D., and do some R&D, rather than merely teaching. I was still in power systems and power analysis. I went to visit some of the power stations, including the next one that was being developed for the Pakistan Power Authority. One year I went to Germany, because I was interested in languages. Earlier, I had taken four years of evening classes. I was pretty good in German, and we had a couple of visiting German teachers. I went to the Goethe Institute. They have branches all around the world. That’s where I met my wife. She was also studying German there. She is from Finland.

Then when I applied for scholarships in the U.S., I applied to Illinois, the University of New Mexico and one or two other places. The University of New Mexico was the first one that gave me an offer, which was a teaching assistantship along with my Ph.D. studies, so I accepted that. However, they had very little emphasis on power at the University of New Mexico. They had one or two courses, and the rest was communications and antennas. One of our professors had received a grant for an R&D project from the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Also, Sputnik had happened just two years before that. That’s why I got interested in communications and space communications. I did some work on that NRL project with our professor, and got my Ph.D. in antennas and related topics.

Geselowitz:

When did you come to the United States?

Durrani:

In ’59.

Geselowitz:

And if the membership records are correct, you had already joined AIEE in 1957.

Durrani:

Yes, maybe 1955. I had been a member from Pakistan.

Geselowitz:

You had heard of the AIEE in Pakistan. Did you join it in order to get the publications?

Returned to teaching at his old university in Pakistan.

Durrani:

Well, the library already had the publications. It was primarily just that I’m a joiner.

Then in the U.S., after I got my Ph.D., I went to work for General Electric (GE). I was interested in space work, but at that time you had to have citizenship before you could do that. I had a Green Card, but I didn’t have citizenship yet. GE had R&D going on in their mobile communications field, which I thought was a good area, so I worked there for a couple of years. Then I got called back to my old university in Lahore. The whole school had been upgraded. Instead of being part of the university system and granting only Bachelor’s degree, they became a full-scale university and they were going to have Master's courses and ultimately Ph.D. courses. They said, “We need you to come back and put that program on a good, solid footing.” So I went back there in ’64. I became Department Chairman for Electrical Engineering in the new university, (which was the old school upgraded). As a department chair, as you know, you have more administrative work and less research work. Also, because it was new, they hadn’t gotten any real research started. A few faculty members were still being prepared to go abroad and get Master's degrees and Ph.D.s and come back. I spent most of my time meeting with the Vice Chancellor or the Registrar and faculty committees, and I didn’t especially enjoy that. Also we had a lot of new proposals to write up, for equipment and so on, which would come through the UN or some other outfit. There were treaties between Pakistan and the U.S., an aid program, South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), and I don’t remember what else. We got some money that way, but it was a slow process.

Joining the RCA Space Center

In the meantime, one of my old professors, who had moved from New Mexico to Kansas State University, said, “If you’re interested, you could come over and teach here.” I was interested in going there for three months just to keep refreshed, but he said, “No, if you come here you’ll have to be here a whole year. I can’t do all the paperwork for just three months,” so I ended up just staying on. I was interested in space work, so after that I applied to the RCA Space Center and got accepted there. And they were just starting their center near Princeton, in Hightstown, New Jersey. The center was established in ’65 or ’66. I joined them in ’66, and stayed with them two and a half years. At RCA, most of the work was meteorological satellites and some communication satellite studies. One of the studies was the Orbiting Data Relay Network. The thing that brought me to NASA was that NASA-Goddard had given two contracts – one to us, and the other went to Lockheed, I think. We had a very good team there at New Jersey. Two of the managers later on moved over to NASA. One was Dick Marsten, who is still a member of some IEEE committees; earlier he was on the board of the AESS Society. He’s an MIT graduate and is retired now. Then a couple of other people moved over to NASA headquarters and started working there. Most of the recommendations from that Orbiting Data Relay Network study got accepted by NASA, and they later started building this, which is now known as the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRS System), a satellite system. In the meantime, COMSAT had been established a few years before. They were doing state-of-the-art work, just like Bell Labs did for AT&T. I interviewed with the head of a group called Systems Lab. He had come to COMSAT from Lincoln Labs. He brought me in first as a member and later as a manager of the System Analysis branch. They were going to build it up gradually, starting from the ground up.

COMSAT

Geselowitz:

This was satellite communication?

Durrani:

Satellite communication, yes.

Geselowitz:

For civilian or military?

Durrani:

What COMSAT was doing was for civilians. NASA’s program was also for civilians and NASA’s own satellites. Let me tell you a couple of things about the TDRS. It’s a satellite that sits in a stationary orbit and looks at all the scientific and meteorological satellites in low-altitude earth orbits, and meteorological satellites that have the capability of communicating with it. Instead of having an earth-bound tracking network, as NASA had in the beginning with fourteen or sixteen stations around the world and ships in some ocean areas, we eliminated all that and simply had these three satellites sitting at geostationary altitude and tracking the low-altitude satellites. Actually it could be done with two geostationary satellites, because the "user" satellites are not at the surface of the earth. They are several hundred miles above. And so two satellites in stationary orbit can cover 85 percent of the orbiting user satellites. That system was developed in the ‘70s and became operational in the '80s. The work that COMSAT was doing was for the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (INTELSAT). COMSAT was the system manager for INTELSAT for many years until the late ‘70s, when INTELSAT set up its own headquarters in downtown Washington. But before that, they had only a skeleton staff and COMSAT did all the technical work as well as the contract work, got the satellites built, and got them launched and so on. Our System Lab in COMSAT Labs developed the concepts for improving the future generations of INTELSAT. For instance the first one was an Early Bird, a very tiny satellite. If you like to look at some of those pictures, I’m sure your History Center has all of them in its library. James Martin has a book from the 1970s and all those pictures of early satellites are in it. All the next generations were bigger and bigger. So the first satellite, the Early Bird was in ’65, and then the INTELSAT-2 was only for NASA’s use. INTELSAT-3 had more capacity but was not much bigger, but INTELSAT-4 was being developed at that time (1968-69); it was quite large and complex, and the follow-ups, INTELSAT-5 and so on, were even bigger and more powerful.

Geselowitz:

COMSAT was and is here in the D.C. area?

Durrani:

COMSAT was at that time. The headquarters is still near DC, in Bethesda, Maryland. Initially in ’68 when I joined them, the labs were on “L” Street, but they were building their facilities out in Clarksburg, which is a little north of Germantown and Gaithersburg. These towns are all in Maryland, along Route 270. Fairchild had good facilities there, and a couple of other aerospace companies were building there, so COMSAT built their labs there. It’s an impressive lab. They don’t give tours nowadays, but they hold open house a couple of times a year. It’s a nice facility. Bill Pritchard, who used to be the director of the lab, Assistant V.P., recently passed away. He was one of the pioneers. He used to be with Aerospace Corporation and also spent some time in Italy on some projects for the Navy, I think. Then he came to COMSAT, and he had Burt Edelson as his assistant director. Burt Edelson later became An Associate Administrator of NASA and then became associated with George Washington University. GWU has a small institute for space applications research, and Burt is its Director. In those days satellite communications was pretty heady stuff, because it was new. Things that we worked on very often resulted in a splash in the newspaper. For example, a little before I joined COMSAT, the Tokyo Olympics were covered by one of the INTELSAT satellites in 1964. Everyone was excited. They said, “Worldwide distribution of the news, live coverage, very unusual.” A year or two later with INTELSAT-4 and later on with INTELSAT-5, new services allowed major corporations to receive private data through worldwide satellites. Then the Very Small Aperture Terminals (VSATs) were developed, which enabled almost every business to use satellites instead of terrestrial networks for long-distance communications. Things are now becoming commonplace which were unique and difficult in those days. I got into system analysis and planning because, number one, I like math, and number two, my father, a lawyer, instilled in me the importance of looking at all aspects of things, and not just one tiny part. When people brought legal cases in front of him, he had to look at both sides of the argument. I found system engineering is a good thing, and I didn’t really become a specialist in, say, power or a specialist in antennas. I did a little of antennas, a little of communication, a little of other things.

Geselowitz:

You had started in power because that was the only game in town when you started.

Durrani:

Right.

Geselowitz:

You were interested in space, so that steered you to space communications, even though you didn’t specialize.

Durrani:

Correct, yes.

Geselowitz:

In general the theme tying all these places together after you left the power field was space.

Durrani:

Yes. It was space and studies relating to analysis of systems requirements and developing a concept. NASA has a series of steps like a phase A study, phase B, C, D, where in phase A you do preliminary study and in phase B you develop the concept a little more, and in phase C you have the schematic drawing and start testing some items, and phase D where you actually get going and build it and test it for flight readiness. We followed a similar concept in COMSAT. NASA had an advisory role for COMSAT, especially for flight readiness reviews, and I got to know some of the people at NASA. Earlier, while at RCA, I had participated in presentations to NASA, our client, and was impressed by their level of expertise. I also had some interaction with the NASA folks, not because of my technical work but because of IEEE. Having been involved in IEEE, I got involved in AESS through some NASA folks.

IEEE Activities

Geselowitz:

You joined way back in the ‘50s, but when did you become active, and most particularly, when did you recognize that the AESS was your home society?

Durrani:

When I was at GE in ’63, there were a couple of IEEE meetings there and I started to attend those and realized there were all kinds of technical activities that I could participate in, but I was mostly doing some in-house work. GE had an advanced course in-house, and I gave some talks there. The person heading that effort was an AIEE member—AIEE at that time was the predecessor society to IEEE--so he kept us informed. When the two societies (AIEE and IRE) merged to form IEEE, he told us how it was going and so forth. When I was working at RCA, in ’66 or so, somewhere along the line I had read that David Sarnoff, who was the top leader of RCA, used to write memos of all kinds to his superiors in his early years even if it annoyed them, because he wanted to get his points across. So I took it upon myself to write a couple of memos to our management saying, “Look, why don’t we have two ladders of advancement within the profession? Everybody here thinks that you have to be a manager to be considered successful. Why don’t you have a similar arrangement for purely technical people so they can advance up?” They said, “That’s a good idea, let’s think about it.”

I was reading some technical literature and I saw IEEE also had some people who were making those kinds of proposals. I got to meet some of them. I got active in the Princeton Section of IEEE. I made some proposals there about continuing education and how can we get it started for our own engineers. There were 3,000 engineers there, and I suggested evening continuing education courses for those who didn’t yet have an advanced degree. I began as Chair of the Section's Education Committee. Very soon after that there was an election for officers of the Section. I was nominated to be the secretary and got elected, but then I moved to this area, so I really became more active here when I came in ’68 or so. The late George Abraham, from Naval Research Lab (NRL), was a very pleasant gentleman, very supportive of people, and he was the DC-area Section chairman at that time, and he encouraged me to continue some of these activities. In 1971, around that time frame, the Apollo program was closing down, and a lot of engineers were being laid off, so we started a campaign in this area. I led the campaign, saying, “Why can’t we go to the government as a professional society and say that they should be more logical in phasing in and phasing out of programs, so that people don’t go through these swings? Suddenly 5,000 engineers are needed, and then next year 6,000 have to be laid off?” So we started this pilot experiment, Professional Activities Pilot Experiment (PAPE). Abraham as Section Chair, and the Vice Chair, Ed Wolf, supported it.

Geselowitz:

And that was done at the Section level?

Durrani:

This was done at the Section level.

Geselowitz:

The Section decided that they wanted to take this on.

Durrani:

Correct. The Section said, “Saj, you lead this effort. It’s a good idea. Let’s find out what members want.” We held a series of meetings. We met every three weeks for six months or so, and we advertised in a local newsletter and by word of mouth. Ed Wolf was working at Goddard, and George Abraham was at NRL, so some government guys came to our meetings, and some contractors came in.

Geselowitz:

You were at COMSAT at this point.

AESS Society

Durrani:

I was at COMSAT still, yes. There was a gentleman named Rudy Stampfl who later on was a vice president and then President of the AESS Society, and I think he also became a Director of the Institute for a while. But anyway, in those days he was at Goddard, and he was head of an engineering division supporting some satellite work. Rudy Stampfl was very involved in this PAPE experiment, and very supportive of it. He sent several of his people to our meetings. He was also the local AESS Chapter chairman. He called me and said, “Come in the chapter and be more active in it,” so in ’72 I became the program chairman and then later the secretary, and then vice chairman, and chairman. The AESS Society is the one I started with in ’72.

Geselowitz:

I imagine that AESS, unlike some of these fields where the engineers are spread evenly across the country, it must be very focused in places like Houston, here, maybe Southern California, a very few certain places. I presume you could have a very active chapter here, but you might have trouble getting a chapter together in Pittsburgh or some area which has a lot of other sorts of engineers but wouldn’t really have as many aerospace engineers.

Durrani:

The IEEE has 250 sections or so, but we have only twenty-two chapters because of this very reason, that there are not too many people. And in this area although there are many people working in this field, they are usually so busy in their work that they don't join -- and we have only 700 or 800 members in our chapter. Many of them don’t even come to the meetings. I had hoped we would have 1,000 members, but we don’t. The overall society has about 8,000 or 10,000 members. We tried to open some chapters overseas when I was president. We had some success. Mostly they are joint chapters – with communications, antennas and propagation, or microwaves.

Geselowitz:

You are a logical society to have co-chapters, because you have a finger in so many pies.

Durrani:

Right.

Geselowitz:

Alright, now let’s go back to PAPE and the layoffs you were talking about in the early ‘70s and your effort there.

Durrani:

We did come up with some recommendations and IEEE Headquarters at that time was still not sure whether they wanted to do anything with professional activities, but I must say the society hierarchy is usually quite receptive to ideas. I was pleasantly surprised. I got a call from Harold Chestnut, who was the immediate past president or something like that and he said, “We hear these great things about professional activities in Washington. We are going to have a meeting in New York. Why don’t you come there and tell us about it?” A couple of years later they set up the United States Activities Committee (USAC), which later became USAB, the United States Activity Board. Now it’s IEEE-USA.

Geselowitz:

And next decade, who knows.

IEEE-USA

Durrani:

Of course the IEEE-USA covers more than just professional activities. They are supposedly doing the whole thing. The AESS affiliation more or less started because I got to know some people at Goddard and some people at COMSAT. Did I mention Rob Briskman’s name to you? Briskman was at COMSAT Headquarters and he was the AESS Society president before Cary Spitzer and after Eric Herz, somewhere in between. I knew some of these folks and I thought they were doing good stuff and I got involved in AESS. I didn’t expect to end up being the president in the future. Actually, before I went on the board I worked on the Society Transactions, associate editor for eight or ten years in the space systems part of it. Writing and editing is one of my favorite things.

Geselowitz:

What got you involved with the national society? Was it more your chapter work or your editorial work that got you onto the board and eventually president?

Durrani:

I think I would have been on the board on the basis of either one of those. If I had been just the associate editor of Transactions, maybe after a few years they put you on the board. Or if you’re a Chapter chairman and you are active and eager they put you on a board. I was on the board for six years. Actually you have to step aside after those six years are over. But they elected me president in my sixth year, so they extended my term on the Board. Traditionally you are president for two years. I was president for 1982 and 1983. My board membership started in 1976, something like that.

U.S. Citizenship

Geselowitz:

That was your progression. All the way back to COMSAT you got active in this professional issue, and that eventually led to you becoming president, in part – that and your editorial interests. Initially you were a permanent resident alien of the United States and not a citizen.

Durrani:

Right.

Geselowitz:

At what point did that status change?

Durrani:

That’s an interesting story. I could say I was a beneficiary of the Cold War. When I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico working on my Ph.D., I took a summer job with a branch of Curtis-Wright Corporation, the airplane company. The New Mexico branch had some projects from them or a similar company. I have forgotten the exact name now, it’s been so long. I went there one year, and the next year again during the summer. It was in the early ‘60s when the Cold War was really hot.

Geselowitz:

You mentioned Sputnik getting everyone crazy about space.

Durrani:

That’s true, yes. The Russians were getting a lot of people from Asian and African countries coming to their universities, and the U.S. was trying to counter that with things like the AID program and Truman’s Four Point Plan. And the head of the department in which I was working said, “Durrani, we want people like you to be our friends, not their friends,” and he said, “Do you want me to sponsor you for immigration?” I said, “It’s a lot of headache for you, and I was thinking of going back to Pakistan after a while.” He said, “No harm. We’ll do it,” and he sponsored me. He put in the paperwork and it took him eight or nine months. When I went back to Pakistan, it was in fact one of the conditions to maintain your immigration status, that every couple of years you’ve got to come back to the US for awhile. When five years were over in ’66, I became a citizen after I had joined RCA. It’s been a good step in the sense that finally I knew where I belonged.

Geselowitz:

Engineers have professional concerns in every country, and some cut across countries, but a lot of IEEE’s professional activities have been focused on American engineers. That’s why when they finally formed USAB, which is now IEEE-USA, they included professional activities. They still do that PACE conference every year and so forth. But you already had become an American citizen when you got involved in these issues.

Planning a Broadcast Satellite System

Durrani:

PACE and PAPE and those things were important, but they were secondary in my view. I was still primarily the AESS member or the Communications Society member looking at technical aspects of IEEE and looking at the transnational or global aspects, looking at what else might be done collaboratively with other countries when I was doing working on technical programs. When I joined NASA for example, very often I was involved in frequency planning and coordination. At one time this was a big thing. In planning a broadcasting satellite system, you were concerned about what frequencies would be used, and figuring out how to make sure that every country that needed an allocation would get it. So there were some battles. A lot of study and work was involved. By the way, it also showed how sometimes people can overplan. After five or six years of work and many regional and world radio conferences, this group for broadcasting satellite services came up with a very comprehensive plan of frequency blocks for each country, how many TV channels would be needed via satellite, and so forth. In practice, when it started being implemented, to some extent it got put aside. A whole new system has been developed, partly because technology changed and partly because some countries didn’t need those frequency bands and others needed more of them. But the planning aspect of it, the system aspect of it, does include international considerations as well as national.

I was lucky. With COMSAT we used to have people from many other countries coming for six-month or nine-month assignments, because they were members of the INTELSAT Consortium and they wanted to see what headquarters was doing. Some of them were very bright people, and they would go back and do some similar things at home. Some of them stayed on and became members of INTELSAT. COMSAT nowadays has changed its emphasis somewhat. It’s become more like any other communication company in that they are in some ways hard up financially and have turned to always making deals, selling something and buying something, and R&D people are a little unhappy there. They no longer have much freedom to do what they want to do. I was talking to an old friend the other day. He said, “Well, in the old days I used to have a 3-year plan or a 5-year plan. Now I am lucky if I can plan ahead for a month or three months.”

IEEE Outreach to Schools and Other Professional Activities

Another part of IEEE, professional activities, is now reaching out to schools and so forth. I was active in the Washington Section in the old days, and I became Section chairman. Nowadays they have a Council, which has the Virginia and Washington Sections together. Currently I’m PACE chairman for the council. We have five or six projects. One of our members, Dave Weiss, who retired from the University of Maryland some time ago, has a project using retirees to help out middle schools in this county. Another member, George Rodgers in Northern Virginia has been teaching math and science to high school kids at Thomas Jefferson Technical High School, which is one of the Governor's charter -- or magnet -- schools in Virginia. We have IEEE-USA tech policy committees downtown, and I’m a member of the Aerospace Policy Committee. Cary Spitzer is chairman and I am vice chairman. There are four other committees like that – for medical technology; R&D; energy; and communication and information policy. We are trying to get people to participate in those committees. One of our PACE projects is at the DuVal High School, which is near Goddard in Greenbelt, Maryland. They have an advisory board, and one of my colleagues who used to be on it told me about it, so I’m on that board now. The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) took the lead there and have been helping the school for the past eight or nine years. They have the students start a project first just to get organized, and then they take two or three years to study and define their experiment. NASA gives them a little canister, called a "Get Away Special" or "GAS" can, in which they can put all their instruments and their equipment, and that will fly in the shuttle. The students, who are 11th graders and 12th graders, spent a lot of time on it, and they identified their project, which was to send cockroaches up in space and see how they behaved. They studied cockroach behavior on earth, how much food they need, how much water they need, and their other social and reproductive behavior, how much do they weigh, and so on. Then, with the help of local engineers from Allied, Lockheed, CSC and Goddard, they proposed the experiment and did the analysis. One of our IEEE members has been involved with it, for his own personal interest, and now we are trying to get IEEE involved in it formally. The previous experiment shared the famous flight of the Space Shuttle with John Glenn last year, and they had a lot of press coverage and pictures of these little roaches that came back, and now they are going to do some analysis of how they fared in space. They had put little cameras in a couple of places so that two hours per day during flight the behavior of the cockroaches was taped. They are still doing some of this analysis.

Geselowitz:

Do you think those kinds of activities are increasing, or have those things been going on all along?

Durrani:

These activities to help schools have been going on all along, and hopefully now we can expand them. In Virginia George Rodgers has been doing this for ten years, and has been presenting his results in educational society meetings and so forth. But we want to have a larger participation, and more volunteers getting involved, and not just two or three people from each place.

Geselowitz:

This is being done at the Section and Council level?

Durrani:

At the Council level, with funding provided by the Sections and the Region.

Geselowitz:

IEEE, being such a large and complex organization, geographically and technically, there is often a lot going on, and sometimes there is duplication of effort.

Durrani:

Oh yes.

Geselowitz:

Since you’re a Life Fellow, you probably get the Life Members’ newsletter. They are involved with something called RESEED.

Durrani:

That’s the program I mentioned, with retired engineers helping middle school teachers.

Geselowitz:

So you are tapped into that. I found out that there were other people scattered around the country trying to do the same kind of thing on their own and don’t know about others making parallel efforts.

Durrani:

Exactly. That was a very good thing that the Life Members' newsletter included this information. As it happens, Dave had applied to the Council for some funding to enlarge the project, so we knew about him. But then came this newsletter and I called him up and said, “Dave, you are a celebrity.” He said, “I haven’t seen that newsletter yet.”

Geselowitz:

Who is doing this?

Durrani:

Dave Weiss.

Geselowitz:

Right.

Durrani:

He is local, and there is another gentleman, a professor in the Boston area.

Geselowitz:

RESEED started in Boston at Northeastern University, and now they are trying to spread it, and I guess you are one of the first satellite tests.

Durrani:

Yes. Dave Weiss has done it before, independent of the Council. But now we are aware of his work, and he has come to several of our Council meetings, and we have given him exposure. He advertised in the Washington Post also, in their public service type listing. Last year he did that and got eighteen people. Twelve of them are electrical engineers, and of the other six, two are medical doctors. Dave is going to continue to do the same thing. Yes, it’s true that it’s a big organization, but at the PACE conference they share ideas. I went there last year and I’ve been to some of them before, and one of our representatives will be at this year's conference. It’s happening next week, and unfortunately I will not be able to attend. I’ll be on vacation in Alaska.

Working for NASA 1974-1992

Geselowitz:

You went to NASA in ’74.

Durrani:

Yes, and I stayed with them until ’92. I spent some years at Goddard. Then I went to Headquarters for a couple of years, came back to Goddard for five or six years, went back to Headquarters for four years.

Geselowitz:

The headquarters is downtown, so it’s probably more convenient for you to go to Goddard than downtown.

Durrani:

It’s 50 minutes in one direction and an hour in the other direction. It was almost the same. The reason for going to HQ was interesting. When I was at Goddard in the beginning for six years, I was working on innovative application of space. I did some conference papers and chaired some sessions and so on, so I got to know quite a few people in different companies. Goddard at that time, in the late ‘70s, was doing a study to find out how much support was needed from government in communications. Critics used to say, “Industry is now pretty stable and healthy income-wise. Should government be spending money on it?” We had a couple of programs within Goddard. The Advanced Technology Satellites (ATS) program was starting to phase out. ATS-6 had been a great success, and NASA Headquarters wanted something to follow up on that. ATS-6 had a 30-foot diameter antenna on the spacecraft, and it was therefore able to relay TV signals down to earth. They used to have a 10 or 15 foot antenna at the ground terminal for community use, which was considered small. That antenna could pick up these signals from the satellite at S band (2.2 GHz), and some experiments were in the UHF 900 MHz band. They did experiments in India and several other places for community development, educational broadcasts and so on.

As a follow up for ATS-6, we were proposing an Advanced Communication Technology Satellite (ACTS). Some years earlier, NASA had a Communication Technology Satellite (CTS) in collaboration with the Canadians, which had a huge 200-watt microwave transmitter tube on the spacecraft. Headquarters was thrilled with ACTS, but the OMB was not very thrilled with the idea of government spending more money on a follow up on ATS or CTS. John McElroy, who was at Goddard, was given the responsibility by the Center director to do a survey of different companies and see where technology stood and where government support was needed. McElroy selected a team – an antenna specialist, an engineer with a background in economics (for cost-benefit analysis), and me as the communications person. The four of us went around the country. We went to Hughes, Lockheed, RCA and several other companies. They were all very receptive in the sense that it was a NASA program and they wanted us to know their capabilities. They knew that ACTS had been proposed, and they knew that the question was whether we should go forward or not. We got some very good insight into what different companies were doing. We gave a report of the results. Goddard was happy with it. Then McElroy went to Headquarters to direct the Communications Division there and implement the recommendations. He took two of us with him. I spent a couple of years at Headquarters with him.

Then I went back to Goddard in 1981 because TDRS was going to be launched, in ‘82, '83 and they were getting nervous because the ground segment was not completely ready. They set up a special deputy and associate director to get this TDRS system going. He had two or three people working for him, and one of them knew me from the old days at Goddard, and he invited me to come work on the program. I became the system-planning manager for the ground system. The satellite was already built and was ready to be launched. Our job was to make sure all the ground elements were ready at White Sands and other locations. The ground system needed to be made ready to receive the data from TDRS, separate it, and send it to all the principal investigators whose experiments were flying on those small scientific "user" satellites. After that work was completed, they had reorganization and I went to work as Research and Planning Manager of the NASCOM division within Goddard. In 1988, I went to NASA Headquarters as a program manager in the Advanced Systems Office, a part of the Office of Space Communications, and after a few years I retired.

Then I again benefited from IEEE, because I was involved in several IEEE activities, and Joe Toro at Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) happened to be the Section chairman at that time. He knew me from those activities, and from the time at NASA Headquarters, and when he heard in ’92 that I was going to retire, he said, “Why don’t you come to Computer Sciences Corporation for a few years? You can work part-time if you want, or you can be full-time if you want.” I went to CSC and they gave me the title of Consulting Engineer, but I was a full time employee for six years or so after that. CSC had a large contract for operating some of the Goddard ground stations, control stations, orbit determination for various scientific spacecraft, the TDRS system, giving advice for the next generation TDRS they were planning, and some R&D work – in general supporting R&D at Goddard relating to communications. It fit in well in the sense that civil servants at Goddard wanted the work done and the CSC team knew how to do it. As part of CSC I was involved in doing that work, and enjoyed it.

Retirement and Post-Retirement Activities.

Then when I turned 70 last year I thought, “Well, it’s time to retire.” It was easy to say "retire," but I have not fully retired. I got an assignment under the UN Development Program for which I went to Pakistan for six weeks, and of course I ended up spending a couple of weeks extra there. The UN has a program where expatriates from developing countries who have been in Europe, the U.S. or Canada, or some other developed country, go back and spend a few weeks or months in their old home country if the home country asks for it. They have to have a specific department or division that needs some help from outside. The UN doesn’t want to impose. But if they request it, the UN can come up with assistance. It’s a very simple program, in a way. The UN doesn’t spend very much money. The UN just gives you a per diem, something like $70 or $80, depending on the country. The country doesn’t give you anything, except welcome you. You are on your own. You are either donating your time or your vacation time, or you are a retiree and don’t care. When I was at NASA they had asked me once, in ’85 I think. I spent three weeks with them then. At that time, they were developing a communication satellite package. But for those three weeks all they really wanted of me was to give some talks on satellite communication and what’s going on in different countries in the different labs. But this time it was a specific thing. They had built another small package, which they are going to launch on a Russian rocket as a piggyback satellite – in September probably, unless the Russians have some economic problem and postpone it. It’s a rather small, 60-kilogram satellite the size of about two briefcases, which has three or four experiments: a radiation experiment and another experiment with battery life, and a camera for remote sensing. They feel they have to compete with the Indian space program, but the Indian space program, when I visited them in the mid '80s, was far, far ahead. They have built their own spacecraft, bigger ones, and they have launched them for several years.

The Pakistan team did not discuss with me what kind of launch capability they have, but it is obvious they don’t have enough to do it by themselves. They launched their first spacecraft with the Chinese eight years ago. It was in orbit for about six weeks, and then somehow they lost it because its orbit determination was wrong, or the sun angle was wrong, and they lost power. The new spacecraft this time is a very simple gravity gradient type satellite, and has very little onboard control. But at least they have a team of 30 or so young fellows, most of them 22 to 28, and it’s a learning experience for them. They have put this thing together, and they are crossing their fingers that it will work.

Geselowitz:

I just hope the Russians don’t blow it up.

Durrani:

The Russians are going to launch it with one of their meteorological satellites as a piggyback. I spent two months in Pakistan (from January to March). Nowadays I am relaxing and going on vacation.

Geselowitz:

You probably didn’t all those years before retirement.

Durrani:

We did have some vacations, but this will be fun. It’s a cruise to Alaska.

Major Trends in Space Communications

Geselowitz:

You’ve been involved with space communication systems at least since the mid-‘60s. That’s over 30 years. What do you see as the major trends? Looking back at what you were doing in 1966 and what you were doing last year, what do you see as the main differences?

Durrani:

The big difference is the new computing power, and the new advances in technology that have allowed small chips, quite a lot of memory onboard, and the Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology.

Geselowitz:

There’s not a lot of bandwidth, presumably.

Durrani:

It allows them to do things faster, and do many things that we couldn’t have done before. Computational capability wasn’t there. If you have to reduce some ambiguity or clean up some clutter, you have to do a lot of computation. It couldn’t be done without modern electronics and integrated circuits. I guess the other big thing is the fact that nowadays communications is getting to be so that a user terminal has to be user friendly, and the terminal has to be small, like handheld mechanisms. Since these new systems developed, now everybody wants a handheld unit like Iridium is focusing on, and via satellite. That couldn’t have been done thirty years ago. Also, thirty years ago everything was still so new: space qualified components had to be developed, everything had to be flight tested and space-qualified, and then the engineering model had to be built, and then the flight model had to be made, taking very small steps. Now we can take bigger steps; the Naval Research Lab (NRL), for example, in the Clementine experiment showed how they could do things with less cost and take bigger risks. NASA chief Dan Goldin has been preaching this approach for the last several years. And NASA is doing things faster and quicker, and cheaper, although some critics say you can have only two of those three things together, but not all three.

Geselowitz:

Right. I heard a talk a while ago by the principal scientist on the space station program. It was a political thing, and he was reassuring people about our Russian partners and what we could expect from them. This was right about the time that there was an American astronaut on the Mir, and they were having all kinds of fires and electrical outages. He claimed that the Russians use basically cheap, off-the-shelf inferior components, but that they do a lot of backup. For instance if you need a battery, instead of designing a special battery that would do what you need, you take twenty batteries off the shelf and you line them all up, and as they fail one at a time you throw them out, and you still have backup. But of course in the American space station we are focused on designing for space, like you were saying. Now maybe we want to step back a little bit.

Iridium satellite phone system

Durrani:

Six or seven years ago I went and visited the Ford Aerospace people, before they got their name changed and merged into something else, while I was at NASA Headquarters. They showed me what they were proposing to the INTELSAT people for their follow-up spacecraft, and they were coming to an approach like the automobile industry – a “just in time” kind of approach where you depend on your supplier to do all the proper testing, and the lead time has been reduced. In the old days, five years was a typical time; now it’s eighteen months that are required from conception to actual flight. You have to give some of the Iridium types credit that they have built so many dozens of these satellites and that they can do it like an assembly line and build them fast. Now Hughes has done the same thing on a bigger scale for their model HS-601, and they have a 700 model, where they’ve got about forty of them on order. 'Till some years ago, there were only ten or fifteen satellites, and now there is demand for more and more, and they have got it all down pat. They know how to build them and how to modify them for each customer, put a little option here, change the antenna size there, or whatever. Now things are done faster, cost less, and a wider market and more diverse community is served.

Geselowitz:

Did you envision that in your earlier years? You were probably designing for really centralized things.

Durrani:

The early designs used large ground stations, but later on the emphasis was to reduce dish size. Ten or fifteen years ago there was a kit you could get for $4,000 or $5,000 to put in your backyard with a 10-foot antenna. Now you can do it with a 10 or 12 inch dish. People did envision and talk about smaller terminals, but not on this scale. One of the things we all have to recognize and acknowledge is that space activity is not a one-man visionary thing, as it was in the old days. The Wright Brothers or Von Braun, or Goddard did a unique thing. They were really visionaries and actually did something with it themselves. Nowadays, thousands of people have to get involved, and large teams are involved for concept development, implementation, and operation, and it’s not just one individual. Maybe we should give credit to the team at Iridium, for example, for having stuck through and gotten the system built, but the seeds were there fifteen years before. People knew what could be achieved with such satellites; they just didn’t want to put up that much money. These guys said, “Well, let’s get $3 billion and let’s put up sixty-six satellites and several spares in orbit,” and they succeeded in having the system in place.Geselowitz: Since you brought it up and are an expert: What do you think about Iridium now that they’re back in the news in a negative light? Do you think it was just strictly business mistakes, or were there some technological issues involved?Durrani: I think it is not even a "business mistake" but rather some miscalculations and some programmatic delays. We have to hand it to them. They stuck with it in spite of all the skepticism, and they raised all the money. They got licensing agreements with so many foreign countries, which is a backbreaking job that takes years and years. They miscalculated the cost of handheld units. I think they were projecting seven hundred dollars for the handheld units, and it’s actually much more. Also, they had assumed a big market, but they only have a few hundred buyers at the moment. At one point their shares went up to $76, and now they’re down to $6 or $7. It’s unfortunate. I know some people, like Bill Pritchard and Burt Edelson, were very skeptical that they would succeed. But if anybody was able to succeed, I think these people had the chance to succeed. They might still come back.

Geselowitz:

They might still pull it off.

Durrani:

Yes. Although it looks very discouraging. I don’t know which company it was, but one company was saying their handheld unit would be $2,500, and that’s much too expensive.

Geselowitz:

Right. I heard a commentator on National Public Radio say that they somehow thought that all international business travelers would want one. This guy thought there was a market out there for cellular phones, but what he didn’t realize was that these business men who are from emerging countries and are already tapping into the international marketplace are in countries where the infrastructure has not caught up with that technology.

Durrani:

True.

Geselowitz:

In his capital city he may have good cellular coverage, but if he goes outside the city he loses it, and satellite will be the way to stay in touch. He also has the money. But if it’s a poor country with no cellular coverage and no one has the money to buy $2,500 or even $500 dollar handheld units, it doesn’t do you any good.

Durrani:

That’s true. When I was in Pakistan, I visited one company that’s trying to market Iridium, and that’s one of the problems they have. The infrastructure is not there, and not many people can afford to buy these units. I think they will still pull through and come out of it alright. I hope so. Otherwise there will be a chilling effect. COMSAT went through a similar thing, after I had left working for them. COMSAT lost $300 or $400 million at one time. They had put a lot of money into direct broadcasting system planning and so on, and at that time the demand wasn’t there, because they weren’t aiming at individuals with these 13” dishes. They were still talking of community TV or head-ends for cable TV and TV distribution to apartment complexes.

Geselowitz:

Right. Cable TV would have to take it and distribute it by land wire.

Durrani:

Right. They got out of that business. There are some risks involved.

IEEE Technical Societies

Geselowitz:

You mentioned that you were a member of the Communications Society. We talked earlier about the AESS being the broadest society, with a finger in so many pies. I’m curious to know what other professional groups or technical societies you belonged to, and how and when you belonged to them. One of your colleagues I am going to be interviewing was actually president of two different societies, and I wonder how common that is.

Durrani:

Warren Cooper.

Geselowitz:

Right. Warren was the president of MTTS in 1975 and then in 1986 he was president of AESS. I’m interested in hearing about your own personal experience in memberships, and how you feel about how AESS interacts with other technical societies as well as outside societies. I am thinking particularly of the AIAA, which even though they only do systems seems to be a group with some overlap.

Durrani:

I personally belonged at one time to the MTTS, I belonged to the Antennas and Propagation Society for a couple of years, and was a member of the Communications Society for a longer period. I joined AESS much later, but I felt I found a home there more easily, maybe because it is a smaller society compared to the Communications Society. The Communications Society had a lot of academic people. I had to choose one or the other. I was in one of the Communication Society’s committees for a while, the Communication Theory Committee, because I was interested in modulation and coding and so on. I went to a few meetings, but didn’t do anything more than that. Some of my friends whom I regard highly are there, and I benefit from conversing with them, but I never took an active role in that society. Warren Cooper is a unique individual. Ed Wolf was also president of two societies. He was president of the Engineering Management Society, and after a time he was also president of the Antennas and Propagation Society. He never became AESS president, but I think he is a member of the AESS. Very rarely, but sometimes people do have very active roles in two societies. Your question was whether I personally had taken a more active part in any of the other societies.

Geselowitz:

Yes.

Durrani:

Very minimally. One of the things close to my heart is collaboration between societies, but it doesn't work out. I tried a few times with the Communications Society to form joint conferences. We used to have a National Communications Conference (NCC), and Globecom, jointly run by our two societies. When Don Schilling was president of the Communications Society, some of their members were gung ho against working with the AES Society. They felt it was a drag on their enthusiasm or whatever, so they decided to split and said, “You take some conferences and we’ll take some others.” They kept Globecom, and we changed the name of NCC to NTC, National Telesystems Conference or something, because they didn’t want the words "Communications" to appear in the name of a conference run by the AESS. We ran NTC for a few years. Very often there is reluctance on the part of Society boards to join other societies. They think it might end up diluting their turf. Then they tried to put societies into Divisions. I was Division director for two years, and we had the AESS Society and four other societies – Broadcasting Technology, I think was one of them.

Geselowitz:

Which division was that?

Durrani:

Division 9.

Geselowitz:

That’s the division that when they don’t know what to do with you, they put you into that?

Durrani:

No, this Division was Signals and Processing. There is another one, where they put societies that don't fit elsewhere. I think that’s Division 6 – Cybernetics and so on.

Geselowitz:

Systems, Man and Cybernetics. Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMBS) I think might be in there.

Durrani:

But I was not in that Division. I was in the other one called Signals and Processing. We had the Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society, and also the Signal Processing Society. They are much bigger than we are. The Ocean Engineering Society also used to be in it. I went to a few of their meetings. People were on an individual basis very cordial and said it was great, and they would like to work together, but it becomes an issue of turf and bureaucracy, I suppose. Each one wants to do their own thing.

Geselowitz:

How about outside groups like the AIAA? Do we have much cooperation with them?

Durrani:

Unfortunately, not much. For example, the AIAA took a big lead, and they hold a conference every two years called the International Communication Satellite Systems Conference. It is a prestigious conference. I had hoped that the IEEE would either do something like it or collaborate with them, but it goes beyond the level of one society like AESS trying to work it out. We tried also to work with the SME, the Society of Mechanical Engineers. We do some things jointly. These are mechanical engineers and also automotive engineers. Autotestcon is one conference that has eight or nine different societies, some non-IEEE. In some other conferences we used to have a similar relationship with non-IEEE societies, but each time we had to go through a lot of bylaw changes and charter clarifications, it takes time to work things out. Autotestcon is a very successful one. It’s going to be held I think around the same time that the AESS Board is meeting in San Antonio.

Geselowitz:

Isn’t the IEEE Vehicular Technology Society involved in that also?

Durrani:

Probably.

Geselowitz:

That society must have some overlap. They are more ground-oriented, rather than space-oriented but they are dealing with complex systems.

Durrani:

That’s a very small society, and I don’t know how active they are. I plead ignorance. But I meet some of their members occasionally. At one time Vehicular Technology was part of the Division, which had the Communications Society, but now they have broken up I think, because the Communications Society became a division of their own.

Geselowitz:

Because they were too big.

Durrani:

Too big.

Geselowitz:

And the Computer Society gets two divisions.

Durrani:

CS’s membership is about 90,000 and ComSoc has about 30,000 or 40,000 members, so they each qualify to have their own divisions. Coming back to collaboration, IEEE had a solid-state council for example in which AESS was a member, and several others, Electron Devices and so on, every society which had integrated circuit people, applied to be on it.

Geselowitz:

I understand the Industrial Electronics Society and the Industry Application Society are both in it, and the Power Electronics Society too.

Durrani:

Yes, right. As another example, Henry Oman can probably tell you how he managed to get Energy Conversion conference, IECEC, off the ground, and he was very successful in getting several IEEE and non-IEEE societies together. For many years there were seven participants, IEEE plus six others. Within IEEE there were two Societies. Now I think it has broken up because there wasn’t enough demand, or it was too expensive, and AESS and Electronic Devices societies withdrew and then some others withdrew in December last year. There is a mechanism for societies that have mutual interests to set up a Council, and later that Council may become a full-fledged Society by itself.

Geselowitz:

And as a result we now have thirty-seven of them.

Durrani:

Right.

Key Events in Space Communications

Geselowitz:

On the technology side, in space communication systems, if you were going to name a series of key events, starting with Sputnik as the first one, if you were doing a poster with pictures, what specific events would you highlight?

Durrani:

The AESS is putting together a special issue of the Systems Magazine to commemorate the Society's 50th anniversary, which coincides with the year 2000. The special issue will have eight or ten articles, tracing the developments in various fields of interest to AESS over the last 40 or 50 years. I was asked to write the article on space communications, and it covers the events starting with Sputnik that you asked about. Here is a draft of the article.

Geselowitz:

Can I get a draft copy?

Durrani:

Well, I revised it, and then I couldn’t find the revised copy. But sure, you can take this one if you want. I took several things out of it after the reviewer said it was more detailed than it needed to be. You had also asked me to look at some of these decade things, and that’s what I wrote on the back here. Its title is Compendium of Communication and Broadcast Satellites, 1958 to 1980

Geselowitz:

We have it. Okay.

Durrani:

It has pictures of the satellites, what happened, when they were launched, who built them and so forth. There are so many events that stand out. The Courier was one experimental satellite, the Relay was another one. The first Syncom failed, but the second Syncom established the fact that you could work from a stationary satellite. Telstar was another big thing; it was an experimental satellite launched in ’62, and Syncom was typical of an operational satellite. Telstar, as you know, was developed by Bell Labs and AT&T. Then came ATS-1 through ATS-6, the NASA spacecraft. The ATS-6 was the big one that had the big, 30-foot antenna. Also in the ‘60s commercial systems were starting, with INTELSAT. And the Initial Defense Communication Satellite, which used small satellites. Lincoln Labs developed a series of experimental satellites as well, called LES.

Geselowitz:

INTELSAT-1 is probably important because of the international cooperation involved.

Durrani:

Correct. That was in 1965 I believe, the first flight. The LESs were important, because they focused on how to get communication to small terminals on the ground. Then in the ‘70s many domestic satellites started. The Canadians started, and the U.S. followed with Comstar and then Satcom, and then the Indonesians, and so forth. Many of them are listed in the book. And then of course the Russian series. And in the ‘80s many others just building up on these.

Geselowitz:

A continuation really.

Durrani:

So the big things would have been those three or four that I mentioned earlier, plus the proliferation of these domestic satellites.

Geselowitz:

The ‘70s is the individual countries with their domestic systems.

Durrani:

Yes, and in the ‘80s they got more powerful. I would say the ‘90s is the result, allowing the use of very small earth terminals or ground stations, so long as you have the capability to put a large satellite in orbit.

Geselowitz:

If we want to make it a broader historical perspective, the ‘90s is not just in the satellites, but in communication and other areas. In the ‘60s was international cooperation on the government level, in the ‘70s we had domestic, and now we’re seeing transnational corporations. It’s international, but it’s like Iridium.

Durrani:

I see. Yes.

Geselowitz:

It’s private companies trying to make international arrangements. Is that correct?

Durrani:

It’s correct. But I’ll make two points on that. One point is that the communication industry as a whole has benefited from deregulation and privatization, so that there is more competition, more innovation and more collaboration wherever it is necessary, productive and beneficial. The other point I’d like to make is that it’s not only international government-to-government or business-to-business, but it’s becoming more of a personal communication now. There are your cellular handheld phones, and now there are handheld units for international communication, so many of these—

Role of Satellites in Telecommunications Today

Geselowitz:

We’ll finish up the interview by talking about what part satellites play in telecommunication today.

Durrani:

You also asked what would be the typical things you might put on a poster, for example, showing progress over these years.

Geselowitz:

Yes, I did ask that.

Durrani:

It depends on how much space you use or how many posters, but you might want to consider putting up one of early programs, such as Relay or Courier. Pictures are available in the old IEEE Press publications as well as James Martin’s books, which have a lot of neat drawings. As an intermediate thing you could put one of the early domestic satellites, such as one of the Aniks or the Indonesian Palapas. As a comparison you could then put a small Early Bird. The INTELSAT-5 or -8 or -9, of whichever one you could get a picture. INTELSAT-9 has not been launched, but up to 8 they have been launched. They look similar to each other from 5 onwards. Or you could put one of these mobile satellites. For land mobiles, the American Mobile Satellite Corporation has a satellite system that is not doing well financially, but the construction of the satellite is very similar to others for mobile services. The Australians have used the same type of satellite (HS601), and other governments have used it, such as Mexico, and the military has used it. So it is a basic model, which is customized for different users. You could use Iridium type satellites as the latest model. I would leave out Teledesic at the moment, although they have filed formally that they are going to put 288 satellites in orbit working at very high frequencies. They will try to interconnect computer terminals, networking and so on using satellites. Those five or six types of satellites could cover fixed and mobile communications. But then if you have space, I would suggest one of the Search and Rescue satellites. There are several programs for search and rescue with U.S., Russia, Canada, France and others collaborating.

Geselowitz:

How about GPS?

Durrani:

Myron Kayton is the expert on GPS.

Geselowitz:

I also might get a chance to talk to Brad Parkinson.

Durrani:

Beautiful. Yes. He is the right person for that.

Geselowitz:

I called his secretary because he travels a lot, but he’s very busy right now. I heard on National Public Radio that there’s a little glitch in the early GPS system, and people with older units may be experiencing a problem. There was only 1,024 weeks, only 1k of memory.

Durrani:

But I doubt many of those users are still around. GPS became popular when the newer equipment came in on the market.

Geselowitz:

Right, but apparently enough that he’s traveling around and talking to a lot of people and very busy.

Durrani:

Is he still at Stanford?

Geselowitz:

Yes, he’s at Stanford.

Durrani:

So those are the kinds of pictures you might want to show. If you want to show experimental satellites, then the ACTS is a big one. It’s still operational, the Advanced Communication Technology Satellite. Goddard gave up that program. When I went to NASA Headquarters for two years, at that time my main job was as the chief scientist in the communications division, helping to justify that project to OMB. We would clear all the channels within NASA, and the NASA administrator would sign off and approve it, but OMB would object to it. Then Congress would put it back in the budget. It got delayed and delayed, and it was finally launched in ’93, though it should have been launched in ’83. That’s another major satellite that you could show, because it’s allowed a lot of good work to be done by many principal investigators.

Geselowitz:

What about non-orbital spacecraft, useful spacecraft like the shuttle and these others we send out to other planets which we don’t expect back but with which we still communicate, do telemetry, and track? Is that the same sort of space communication system, or is that a whole separate category?

Durrani:

It’s very similar. The telemetry for the other spacecraft would be very similar to the telemetry for one that goes to the planets. It’s just that the rate will be very low because of the astronomical distances. JPL is very often happy with just a few bits per second, whereas we want kilobits or megabits per second on most of our spacecraft. There aren’t that many other fundamental differences, except that some people are putting more and more autonomy on board and more miniaturization. They think you could build new spacecraft which might not need so much of ground control, ground monitoring and ground operations; they could do all of their navigation autonomously, they could shut off a certain system if the battery is being drained and turn it on when the time comes and when the sun angle is right, and so on. There might be improvements of that kind.

Geselowitz:

Regarding the effect of the Internet, you wanted to make a couple points about the ‘90s. You mentioned deregulation and personal communication as opposed to group communication.

Durrani:

Right. Going to smaller and smaller ground terminals. Some of the social scientist types used to predict that satellites might lead to a social global village. That is coming closer to reality now, and you can find people becoming very globally conscious, because they get the news instantaneously from everywhere. I have seen this everywhere in my travels around the world.

Speaking at IEEE section meetings around the world

Another benefit of having belonged to IEEE are programs such as the distinguished lecturer program for experts in AESS. Myron Kayton gives talks on GPS and navigation, Cary Spitzer does it for avionics, and I am doing it for satellite communications. I’ve made a lot of friends because of that, and have gone on many trips to different parts of the world, wherever IEEE has Sections.

Geselowitz:

Does that help when you go back to Pakistan? Presumably there is a Section there.

Durrani:

There is a Section there.

Geselowitz:

Do they welcome you?

Durrani:

Oh, yes. They asked me to give a talk there, and gave me a little plaque, and so on. It’s interesting that for example in Chile and Ecuador and the Far East, there are lots of Sections where I would not have originally thought they would be so eager to participate, but they know the program and they like the topic. You have to coordinate with three or five sections so that you don’t take a trip just to go to one place. I’ve gone on these types of trips about five different times to about 20 countries. I went to six cities in Australia and three in New Zealand. Other trips have been to Indonesia, Thailand, India, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. IEEE has a worldwide presence, and the people are professional, and on a personal basis very nice to meet, and it’s been a good experience. I hope to continue that kind of international collaboration and support. Your mentioning internationalization reminded me of this.

Geselowitz:

Right. My point about the ‘90s is that there are multinational corporations interested as opposed to governments, and you made the point that it isn’t so much that as that communication is personal, so that you have individuals scattered across the globe. I suppose eventually, rather than communities with a 30-foot dish, each person can have their own very little dish.

Durrani:

Yes. Or just a miniature antenna

Geselowitz:

Right. Is there anything else you’d like to add? You’ve given me a great deal of food for thought.

Durrani:

No.

Geselowitz:

You’ve given a great deal of food for thought. Thank you very much.

Durrani:

You are welcome.