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U.S. Military to Put Internet Router in Space

The U.S. Department of Defense will launch a satellite carrying an Internet router into space in 2009.

Called Internet Routing in Space, or IRIS, the project will allow voice, video and data communications for U.S. troops. A router is a piece of hardware that shuttles packets of information around a network. The project will be managed by the commercial satellite company Intelsat General and is one of seven funded by the JCDT (Joint Capability Technology Demonstration) branch of the Department of Defense.

"IRIS extends the Internet into space, integrating satellite systems and the ground infrastructure for warfighters, first responders and others who need seamless and instant communications," said Bill Shernit, President and CEO of Intelsat General.

SEAKR Engineering Inc., of Denver, CO, will manufacture the space router and integrate it into Intelsat General's IS-14 satellite, scheduled to liftoff in the first quarter of 2009. Cisco, the networking company based in San Jose, CA, will design software for the on-board router.

The satellite will be placed in geostationary orbit at 45 degrees West longitude with coverage of Europe, Africa and the Americas.

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