Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
the research laboratory of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

ITS: The Nation’s Spectrum and Communications Lab

Our mission is to ADVANCE innovation in communications technologies, INFORM spectrum and communications policy for the benefit of all stakeholders, and INVESTIGATE our Nation’s most pressing telecommunications challenges through research that employees are proud to deliver. Learn more about ITS on our YouTube Channel or read about our research programs in the Technical Progress Report.


August 18, 2020

Presentations from the ISART 2020, the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies: 5G Spectrum and a Zero-Trust Network are now available on the ...

April 2, 2020

The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, signed into law on January 14, 2019, requires federal agencies to publish their information online as open data, using standardized, machine-readable...

May 9, 2019

ITS has a long history of leadership in air-to-ground propagation model development within the International Telecommunications Union – Radiocommunication Sector’s (ITU-R) Study Group 3 – Radiowave Propagation (and its...

March 10, 2019

How can we get more use out of the radio spectrum? One way is by sharing radio bands between users who have never shared before. Consider radio frequencies near 3.5 GHz. Until recently, that part of the spectrum was...

November 26, 2018

Behind every initiative to share spectrum are models of how radio waves in a particular band propagate through different environments. How far will a signal travel before it becomes too faint to be useful or...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

October 1957: Sputnik, Earth’s First Artificial Satellite Launched

On October 4, 1957 the USSR launched the Sputnik satellite into an elliptical Earth orbit as a part of the International Geophysical Year (IGY). The launch of the Sputnik (Russian for satellite) shocked American citizens, and marked the beginning of the US/USSR space race that President Kennedy announced four years later. The International Council of Scientific Unions had declared July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958, a time of high solar activity, the International Geophysical Year, and resolved that artificial satellites should be launched to assist in mapping the earth and the atmosphere. The US launched its contribution to the effort, the satellite Vanguard, on March 17, 1958. Despite the fear Sputnik instilled in some Americans, researchers and scientists at the Central Radio Propagation Laboratory (CRPL) were eager to use it to help them understand the atmosphere and how satellites could assist in long-range communications. Tracking the satellite from Boulder, Colorado, and Miles City, Montana (approximately 400 miles straight North of Boulder), CRPL researchers hoped to better understand the Doppler Effect and how the atmosphere affected radio transmissions from space. CRPL later assisted NASA in planning and building many satellites for telecommunication and geophysical research. ITS, as the descendant of CRPL, continues to work closely with NASA to improve telecommunications satellite performance.