It’s National Engineers Week––an annual opportunity to inspire young people to enter STEM fields and pursue engineering careers and a chance to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world. As Hughes vice president Graham Avis explained, “Engineering is a way to convert ideas into tangible, real world solutions, which is one of the most satisfying job experiences to be had. The sense of accomplishment when something you personally worked on makes a positive impact on other people is unparalleled.”
To illustrate the many ways Hughes engineers make a difference, we asked leaders to describe an engineering project or breakthrough they’ve worked on and its impact on our customers or the industry:
- “Every engineering project is a breakthrough at Hughes, since we lead the world in satellite system design! Nearly 25 years ago, my first project at Hughes was to design and develop an L-band mobile satellite system for Thuraya in the Middle East. It was very exciting to be designing a system that no one else had done in the world. The system allowed hand-held terminals to communicate with a Geostationary satellite that is 36,000 km above the surface of the earth––these types of hand-held terminals are typically designed to communicate with a cell-tower that is less than 2-3 kms. The system we designed and delivered supported 256 calls per MHz whereas the cellular system at that time carried 40 calls per MHz. We successfully deployed the system, which is still used by customers today in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa. This system also helped reporters from all over the world to report from the ground during the Iraq/Kuwait conflict nearly two decades ago. It transformed the way reporting could be done during such conflicts when there are no other forms of connectivity available,” Dr. Channasandra Ravishankar, senior vice president, Engineering
- “SPACEWAY 3 was the first of a sequence of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) systems to provide internet access service to users in homes in the U.S. and Canada that were outside the reach of high-speed terrestrial service, like cable. This system grew to serve over half a million homes in North America, providing families with the ability to take advantage of all the electronic information, retail, communication and social facilities we now take for granted. SPACEWAY 3 was groundbreaking in terms of capacity and reach, with a one-of-a-kind architecture having modems and fast packet switch in the orbiting satellite so that any of the half million terminals could communicate directly with any of the other half million terminals in a single satellite hop. Hughes and other companies have since launched even higher capacity systems, but I am proud of having worked on the first such system and that it proved a tremendous success for our customers and for Hughes,” George Choquette, senior vice president, Engineering
- “Communicating with employees and customers is complicated, and getting employees on the same page all working towards the same goals is difficult. I’m proud to say that our products allow customers to solve many of these communication hurdles. A great example of a breakthrough product is Breakroom TV, which enables our customers to communicate with their employees quickly and efficiently. In the past, HR groups within companies relied on paper or posters hung on the wall in the breakroom to share information, making communication poor at best. Outdated materials often remained on the peg board too long. Some items never made it. With Breakroom TV, companies can immediately communicate critical messages to employees. It’s revolutionized how they communicate,” Kim Clark, assistant vice president, North America Solutions
- “Hughes has been steadily improving satellite to device connectivity over the years, applying innovation in technology to reduce terminal size and increase service capability. These kinds of techniques have led to the recent direct to device announcements and the convergence of smartphones with satellite services,” Graham Avis
During National Engineers Week and throughout the year, we celebrate the many accomplishments of our engineers here at Hughes who enable our revolutionary advancements in satellite and connectivity technology.
If you or someone you know is interested in a career in engineering, check out the available positions at Hughes for fulltime as well as college intern positions.