ORBCOMM Signs Next Generation Satellite Constellation Contract for 18 New Spacecraft
FORT LEE, New Jersey, ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC), a leading global satellite data communications company providing two-way Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, today announced that it has signed a next generation satellite constellation contract with Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) to build 18 new ORBCOMM Generation 2 (OG2) satellites with an option to purchase up to 30 additional OG2 satellites to augment and upgrade ORBCOMM's existing satellite constellation.
As Prime Contractor, SNC has formed an experienced integrated space team with unique and established space heritage, resources and performance records, including Boeing Intelligence and Security Systems (I&SS;), ITT Space Systems and MicroSat Systems. The integrated space team also includes several other key subcontractors and industry leaders with unparalleled experience in both the design and construction of complex communications systems and satellites. SNC, Boeing and ITT will provide oversight, systems engineering, technical management, integration and mission assurance functions to assure the successful performance of the OG2 program. MicroSat Systems (MSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of SNC, will leverage its award winning experience on the TacSat-2 mission to design the spacecraft and perform integration and test activities for the OG2 satellites.
SNC has 30 days to select from two ORBCOMM-approved payload providers. Each OG2 satellite will be equipped with an enhanced communications payload designed to increase subscriber capacity by up to 12 times over the current ORBCOMM satellites. ORBCOMM customers will be able to transmit data over the OG2 satellites at greater speeds and send larger data packets using future modems. The OG2 satellites will be backward compatible so that existing subscriber communicators will function seamlessly with the OG2 satellites. In addition, all OG2 satellites will be designed with Automatic Identification System (AIS) payloads to receive and report transmissions from AIS-equipped maritime vessels. ORBCOMM intends to market this AIS data to U.S. and international coast guards and government agencies, as well as companies engaged in security or logistics businesses for tracking shipping activities or for other navigational purposes.
ORBCOMM anticipates selecting the launch vehicle within 12 months and plans to launch the 18 OG2 satellites in three separate missions of six satellites each between 2010 and 2011, consistent with the FCC authorization recently announced by ORBCOMM. SNC's unique mechanical configuration allows for multiple satellites to be efficiently packaged into several types of launch vehicles, providing ORBCOMM with flexibility in selecting a launch provider.