Satellite common carriers face a special problem -- their basic communications facility cannot be repaired once in orbit. If a single transponder or a complete satellite fails, it is gone forever. But most customers have a need for continuity of service. Fulfillment of this need by satellite carriers requires that they provide backup facilities or "protection."
Satellite carriers have responded to this requirement in various ways. The purpose of this article is to describe RCA Americom's plan for service protection, to discuss the relative need for protection by various classes of customers, and to describe an alternate plan which might be adopted.