Hughes Space and Communications Company

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A US company that has developed and built space systems since 1961. It has produced almost 40% of the world's satellites now in commercial use. With headquarters in Los Angeles, California, it became in 2000 an operating unit of Hughes Electronics Corporation, part of the Boeing Company. Hughes designed and built the world's first geosynchronous communications satellite, Syncom, launched in 1963, and the first geosynchronous meteorological satellite, ATS-1, launched in 1966. It is now building the next generation of Tracking and Data-Relay Satellites and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The company is also developing a xenon ion rocket propulsion system.

The company also produced the five uncrewed Surveyor lunar landers, the first touching down in 1966; the probe on the Galileo spacecraft that arrived at Jupiter in 1995; and the radar aboard the Magellan spacecraft that reached Venus in 1990. Hughes is now developing an ion engine as a future propulsion system.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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