Milestone-Proposal:The first satellite broadcasting to the public

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Docket #:2009-13

This is a draft proposal, that has not yet been submitted. To submit this proposal, click on the edit button in toolbar above, indicated by an icon displaying a pencil on paper. At the bottom of the form, check the box that says "Submit this proposal to the IEEE History Committee for review. Only check this when the proposal is finished" and save the page.

To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation?

Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old?

Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy.

Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity?

Was it of at least regional importance?

Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)?

Has the IEEE Section(s) in which the plaque(s) will be located agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony?

Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated?

Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes

Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:


Title of the proposed milestone:

The first satellite broadcasting to the public

Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:

200-250 word abstract describing the significance of the technical achievement being proposed, the person(s) involved, historical context, humanitarian and social impact, as well as any possible controversies the advocate might need to review.

IEEE technical societies and technical councils within whose fields of interest the Milestone proposal resides.

In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?

IEEE Tokyo Section

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):

Unit: IEEE Tokyo Section
Senior Officer Name: Hisakazu Katoh

IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:

Unit: IEEE Tokyo Section
Senior Officer Name: Nobuyuki Yagi

IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):

IEEE Section: IEEE Tokyo Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Hisakazu Katoh

Milestone proposer(s):

Proposer name: Keiichi Kubota
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public

Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.

Street address(es) and GPS coordinates in decimal form of the intended milestone plaque site(s):

NHK Science and Technology Research Laboratories

Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.

Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. The milestone plaque will be installed outside the building of NHK Science and Technology Research Laboratories, but within the laboratories lot at the entrance space. The location is chosen so that every visitor to the laboratories can see the milestone plaque.

Are the original buildings extant?


Details of the plaque mounting:

How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?

The building of the laboratories is guarded by security personnel at the entrance of the laboratories lot and at the entrance of the building. The entrance lobby of the building is open to the public so that visitors can see the display about broadcast technologies.

Who is the present owner of the site(s)?

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation)

What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)? If personal names are included in citation, include justification here. (see section 6 of Milestone Guidelines)

NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) planned to use satellites for broadcasting in 1965 in response to the communications satellites being developed in the USA, and began to research and development of satellites next year. After extensive research at NHK Laboratories and the experiments by NHK and other organizations through the experimental broadcasting satellite which was manufactured by Toshiba and GE, the first practical broadcasting satellite was launched by NASDA (National Space Development Agency) of Japan in January 1984, and satellite broadcasting to the public started in May of that year. The satellite broadcasting provided high quality TV services to the general public.

What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?

The biggest problem was how to build a broadcasting satellite of the same size as a communications satellite. The selection of the 12 GHz band and Dr. Yoshihiro Konishi’s invention, an inexpensive solid-plane circuit with a lower noise figure in the 12 GHz band, were instrumental in solving this problem. By using low-noise home receivers, the output power of the transmitter on the satellite could be lowered to 100W, thereby enabling the satellite to be smaller. An affordable receiver was also important; without one, satellite broadcasting would never be popular. The answer was again in the solid-plane circuit, which could be easily made by punching. The know-how to make receivers with this circuit was transferred to 31 manufacturers, inside as well as outside Japan. Moreover, by developing measurement systems of rain attenuation and computer software for channel allotment, NHK helped to solve other problems such as the attenuation of 12 GHz waves by rain and how to allot frequencies and orbital positions fairly.

What features set this work apart from similar achievements?

Direct broadcasting from a satellite in geostationary orbit to home receivers equipped with a small antenna was not the usual form of satellite communication at that time, and it represented a significant advance in satellite transmission capabilities. The satellite broadcasting provided clear beautiful TV pictures over a very large area, covering not only the main islands of Japan but also remote islands. The pictures were free of any ghost images from signals off reflected buildings and mountains. After a few years, even high definition TV (HDTV) broadcasting was provided.

Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.

Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.

Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).

Please recommend reviewers by emailing their names and email addresses to Please include the docket number and brief title of your proposal in the subject line of all emails.