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For the past several years the United States Federal Aviation Agency has recognized the potential of artificial earth satellites for improved air traffic control. This potential lies primarily in the areas of communications, navigation, and data acquisition, with communications being the area closest to realization. Projects completed by the Agency to date indicate that a communications satellite in synchronous orbit with the capability of several VHF channels employing voice modulation is feasible for implementation by 1970 or earlier. These projects also indicate that there is less certainty about realizing the navigation and data acquisition potential. Efforts are currently under way to define further the air traffic control requirements for satellite systems and to synthesize a communications satellite system. These efforts are designed to consider such major factors as system implementation timing, cost versus benefit, circuit discipline requirements, and system technical parameters. Experimental use will be made of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ATS-B satellite in late 1966 to support this effort and some nonsatellite hardware development will also be undertaken.