For Immediate Release
Wednesday, December 15, 1999
Contact: Ranjit deSilva
(202) 482-7002

Commerce Department Engineers Develop New Technology
to Assist with Air Traffic Safety

Boulder, Colorado -- Engineers at the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have developed new technology that will improve the Federal Aviation Administration's ability to ensure airline traffic safety at major U.S. airports, Assistant Secretary of Commerce Gregory L. Rohde announced today.

The new cost-effective method enables the FAA to measure the performance of Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System (ATCRBS) antennas, which the FAA relies on to locate and identify aircraft without interrupting service. The ATCRBS is in operation at most major U.S. airports.

These FAA radar systems are checked for correct performance as part of a regular maintenance and testing operations to ensure safety. Prior to the development of the new NTIA technology, the FAA had to disrupt the radar service to test the ATCRBS antennas or contract with an outside firm at higher expense. The new technology, invented and patented by the engineers at NTIA's Institute for Telecommunications Sciences in Boulder, Colorado, eliminates the need for service disruption by effectively utilizing automated communicators measurement technology.

The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS), NTIA's chief research and engineering arm, performs state-of-the-art telecommunications research to support to agency and Commerce Department goals, and also conducts specific research under reimbursable agreements with other Federal agencies and under cooperative research agreements with private sector partners.

NTIA serves as the principal adviser to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Commerce on domestic and international communications and information issues.