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Subject: Henry Taylor Howard, Father of Satellite TV

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Date Posted: November 14, 2002 7:32:49 EDT

Henry Taylor Howard, a Stanford University professor who is considered the father of the satellite television industry, died when his single-engine plane crashed shortly after takeoff. He was 70.

The former NASA scientist was piloting the Beechcraft when it went down at about 1 p.m. Wednesday shortly after takeoff from the Calaveras County Airport.

Also killed was Howard's 37-year-old stepson, Brian Files. A third man, Dean Hollingsworth, 37, was in critical but stable condition at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.

Howard created the first known home satellite television system in 1976, according to the Alexandria, Va.-based Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association.

Using an antenna and receiver he built at his San Andreas home, he pulled in C-band signals intended for pay-TV cable customers. He published a manual about how to build a satellite dish, and in a few years the industry began, said SBCA spokeswoman Margaret Parone.

"He is the father of the business and the primary person responsible for the proliferation of the technology," she said.

Today, more than 18 million U.S. homes subscribe to satellite TV technology, according to the SBCA.

Howard, the SBCA's founding chairman, was also a professor emeritus of his alma mater, Stanford, where he taught electrical engineering.

He also worked on the Galileo mission to Jupiter as a National Aeronautics and Space Administration radio scientist and received a NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1973, Parone said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the crash. The plane had just taken off when it plunged at a steep angle into a rocky field of a nearby ranch, according to Calaveras County sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Anderson.

A witness reported hearing "a loud bang" as the plane reached at altitude of about 200 feet, said Sgt. Dave Seawell.

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