Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

New ORBCOMM birds complete checkout
Posted: Dec. 29, 1999

Pegasus rocket launches with the seven ORBCOMM satellites on December 4. Photo: NASA/SPACEFLIGHT NOW
ORBCOMM Global, L.P., the first commercial provider of global low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite data and messaging communications services, has announced that the seven satellites launched earlier this month have successfully completed initial on-orbit check-out procedures and are now undergoing more comprehensive tests. The new satellites are performing as planned and are ahead of schedule in the spacecraft check-out process. ORBCOMM expects to be able to place the seven satellites into commercial service by the end of January 2000.

On December 4, 1999, Orbital Sciences Corporation's L-1011 aircraft carrying the Pegasus rocket took off from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. The seven new ORBCOMM satellites were accurately injected into their target orbit, approximately 510 miles above the Earth. ORBCOMM and Orbital engineers have been conducting a series of tests on the satellites over the past several weeks. As a result of the satellites' excellent performance during the initial evaluation phase, the engineering team has begun the extensive on-orbit performance verification procedures earlier than anticipated.

"The satellites are exhibiting excellent on-orbit performance and moving through the test and evaluation process ahead of schedule," said Scott L. Webster, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ORBCOMM. "The seven additional satellites will provide our customers with increased coverage in key regions including North and South America, Europe, Asia and South Africa, and expand our service capabilities in markets where we have begun to see significant growth in demand."

ORBCOMM provides two-way monitoring, tracking and messaging services through the world's first commercial low-Earth orbit satellite-based data communications system. ORBCOMM applications include tracking of mobile assets such as trailers, containers, rail cars, heavy equipment, fishing vessels, barges and government assets; monitoring of fixed assets such as electric utility meters, oil and gas storage tanks, wells and pipelines and environmental projects; and messaging services for consumers and commercial and government entities.

ORBCOMM is a partnership owned by Orbital Sciences Corporation and Teleglobe Inc. Orbital is a space technology company that designs, manufactures and markets a broad range of space products and satellite-based services. Orbital's experience includes carrying out more than 275 satellite, rocket and space payload missions during the past 15 years. Teleglobe Inc. is a leading global provider of broadband services with the most extensive global Internet network. Delivering advanced broadband applications to customers in more than 100 countries, Teleglobe is the premier communications architecture for the digital economy.

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