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Program: Globalstar


Globalstar is a low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite-based telecommunications system founded by Loral Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. that will offer low-cost, high-quality global telephony and other digital telecommunications services to areas currently underserved or not served by existing wireline and cellular telecommunications systems. Operated by Loral Qualcomm Satellite Services Inc.

The satellites were launched into 8 orbital planes, with 6 satellites in each plane to provide continuous global coverage.

Status: officially started operations on 11 Oct 1999

Total system cost: $4 billion

In Jan 2001 Loral announced that it would stop funding Globalstar. FCC granted a new licence in July 2001 for a 3.5 MHz segment in both 1.990-2.025 and 2.165-2.200 GHz bands.

In Feb 2002, the company filed for Chapter 11 protection for reorganisation. The reorganisation calls for the creation of a new company that would hold all existing assets and would buy equity stakes in 3 of its service providers: Globalstar USA, Globalstar Caribbean and Globalstar Canada. The new company would be owned by Globalstar LP's existing bondholders.

In April 2002 it was announced that since Feb 2001, 7 satellites had anomalies and were taken out of service. Two of those were declared failed and replaced by on orbit spares. Therefore the constellation is running with 47 satellites plus one on-orbit spare. There service availability was 97.92%. Therefore more satellites need to be launched to enhance the availability.

In Jul 2002 Globalstar ordered the second constellation from SS/L (design and future construction). This constellation will operate in the 2 GHz band, have 56 LEO satellite and 5 GEO satellites. Launch should begin in 2006. That constellation would cost upto $4 billion.

In Apr 2003 ICO via a new company to be created would get control of the company in exchange of a $55 million investment (54% equity of the new company). That plan failled in Nov 2003.

In Nov 2003, Thermo Capital Partners have received approval to acquire a majority interest in the company (81.25%). This cancels the agreement with ICO. The acquisition was finalized on Dec 2003.

In Apr 2005 Globalstar requested authorization to build an unlimited number of ATC base stations transmitting in 2.4875-2.493 GHz and receiving in 1.610-1.6155 GHz.

In Oct 2006, Globalstar authorized Alcatel Alenia Space to start working on the second generation satellites. 48 satellites are planned.

In Dec 2006, the contract for the second generation satellites was signed with Alcatel Alenia Space for EUR 661 million. They will design, build and deliver in-orbit 24 satellites. First launch in late 2009. Specifications

In Feb 2007, Globalstar states that S-band amplifiers are degrading at an alarming rate. The satellite fleet had to be reconfigured to use satellites in good health in key orbits. More spare satellites are to be launched in 2007 (heaviers ones, 700 kg compared to 450 kg for the first series) and the second generation is being speed up.

In Jun 2009, the financing for the second generation was secured (approx $738 million).

In Sep 2012, 6 additional satellites were ordered from Thales Alenia Space, identical to those ordered in 2009.

In Mar 2023 the company announced the purchase of 17 new satellites from MDA for $327 million to replenish the constellation and provide services to a potential new customer. Option for 9 additional satellites. The 17 satellites are to be delivered in 2025 for a launch by the end of the same year. Launch mass 500 kg.

In Aug 2023 the company announced the Gen 3 (3rd generation), a replacement constellation made of 26 satellites with the same payload and beam configuration (no additioanl capacity). Licence would be extended till 2038.

Technical data

Constellation overview

Orbit type LEO
Orbit range 1414 km, circular
Nb of satellites 48 + 8 backup
Nb of planes 8
Inclination 52°
Nb beams per satellite 16
Coverage 5796 km²
Modulation CDMA
Mobile frequencies Uplink: 2483.5 - 2500 MHz
Downlink: 1610-1626.5 MHz
Fixed frequencies Uplink: 5091 - 5250 GHz
Downlink: 6875 - 7055 GHz
Satellite mass 425 kg
Coverage all longitudes, 74N - 74S latitudes

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