Online Journal of Space Communication

Article Title

Satellite/Terrestrial Networks for Oil Exploration



In October of 1993, Amoco Corporation initiated the ARIES project. ARIES (ATM Research & Industrial Enterprise Study) was designed as a joint effort between the research and manufacturing units of the corporation to study the role of Asynchronous Transfer Mode in the next generation network.

Rather than theorize about the characteristics and performance of a network based on ATM, the ARIES team's goal was to build a real ATM network and study various communication models with the test network. Amoco enlisted the assistance of seventeen industry partners to build the five-node North American network. That work has been extended in 1995 to include many other participants from the energy industry with the oversight of the American Petroleum Institute.

The ARIES project has brought new partnerships to the communications industry, along with many early realizations about the benefits and drawbacks of ATM-based networks. Among the dramatic benefits demonstrated by the ARIES team is the exceptional agility that ATM networks give large organizations. This agility factor makes it possible for large corporations to respond very quickly to competitive pressure, business opportunity or crisis.

An important component of the global information infrastructure is satellite systems, which will extend the reach of existing networks to literally any point on the earth, or its atmosphere. Recognizing this, NASA has developed the Advanced Communications Technology Satellite as an on-orbit testbed for the development of satellite-based advanced communications models.

One area of work for the ARIES project is to demonstrate dramatic new capabilities based on the combination of terrestrial ATM networks and broadband satellite links. NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite is one demonstration platform for this work. One specific application discussed in this paper involves the delivery of seismic data from ships at sea to computational facilities in the United States using ACTS technology. The successful development of this model could revolutionize the way the oil industry explores for fossil fuels.

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