Seismic Star

Western Geophysical is to use NASA’s satellite system to send real-time, uncompressed acquisition data back to the processing house.

The 1996 U.S. National Space Policy initiated a series of budgetary cuts for NASA which has led to the privatization of its communications networks. Privately held SpaceData Corp. was set up to market the massive satellite bandwidth that makes up the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) NASA uses to control space missions. Massive though it might be, satellite communications are no match for cable for fixed base operations, but when it comes to remote locations, especially on pitching and rolling seismic boats, NASA’s technology really comes into its own.

40 MB per sec.

SpaceData’s marine seismic offering “SeismicStar” provides around 40 megabytes per second data transfer rates from stabilized antenna on the seismic boat to one of the six TDRSS geostationary satellites. From there, the data transits through NASA ground stations at White Sands, New Mexico or Guam on to the client processing center over a cable link.


The system currently covers the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. SeismicStar’s first client is Western Geophysical whose Patriot vessel will be equipped with a 2.4 meter SeaTel terminal and over 1 TB of RAID storage and communications hardware. It is claimed than a days acquisition can be transmitted uncompressed in around 1 hours.

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