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Program: Teledesic

Teledesic was a Delaware corporation owned by McCaw Cellular Communications Inc. and Microsoft Corporation. It was founded in 1990 and the FCC application was made in March 1994.

Teledesic proposes to construct, launch, and operate a constellation consisting of 840 satellites in non-geostationary satellite orbits. The constellation is organized into 21 circular orbit planes with each plane containing a minimum of 40 active satellites spaced evenly, and up to four operational spares per orbital plane. Additional spares will be constructed to replace failed satellites so that no orbital plane contains fewer than 40 operational satellites at any time. The orbit planes are at a sun-synchronous inclination, 98.2 degrees, which keeps them at a constant angle relative to the sun. These satellites will operate at an altitude between 695 and 700 kilometers (LEO) and will communicate with earth stations operating above a 40 degree elevation angle.

Teledesic was authorized in March 1997 to operate in the United States in the 28.6 - 29.1 GHz (uplink) and 18.8 -19.3 GHz (downlink) band segments for its service links and 27.6-28.4 GHz bands for its "gigalink" gateway terminal uplink and the 17.8-18.6 GHz band for its "gigalink" gateway terminal downlinks. Teledesic will also use inter-satellite links (in the 65-71 GHz band) to interconnect each satellite with eight other satellites in the same and adjacent planes.

In late April 1997 Boeing decided to invest up to $100 million for 10 percent of the current ownership of Teledesic. As the prime contractor, Boeing will lead an international effort to design, build and launch the Teledesic Network. The estimated contract value will be $9 billion. Boeing proposed to reduce the constellation to 288 satellites using new technology. It is foreseen that Sea Launch will be a major space carrier to setup the Teledesic network. In Oct 1997 it is said that the orbit could be changed to circular, 1375 km.

In May 1998 it was announced that Motorola would cancel its Celestri program and take a 26% stake into Teledesic. Motorola would lead the industrial and technological team comprising Boeing, and MMS.

In Dec 1998 it is rumored that the system would be made a 3-ton satellites (approx. 50 of them) and that the system would not be operational before 2005.

In Jan 1999 Teledesic filled for a 30 medium-earth-orbit (MEO) satellite system dubbed Ku-Band Supplement (KuBS)

In Jul 1999 an agreement with Lockheed Martin was revealed. It defines the launch vehicles as Proton and Atlas 5. Three launches for both vehicles were booked and 5 more on both rockets are options. Nor the financial terms nor specifications of the satellites were diclosed. A second agreement with Motorola was disclosed. It makes Motorola the main contractor for the satellites. In mid-2000 it is rumored that the constellation would be reducted to 70 satellites.

In May 2000 we learn the Motorola should not be the prime contractor for the system. A prime contractor is again needed.

In Oct 2000 it is confirmed that Motorola will not be the prime contractor. It seems now that Teledesic and ICO will merge.

In Jan 2001, Motorola requested from FCC the right to transfer all its satellite licences and pending applications to Teledesic.

In Aug 2001, Teledesic says it will contract with either Alenia Spazio of Lockheed Martin this fall.

In Feb 2002 Teledesic said only 30 satellites will be needed! They also said that Alenia Spazio would build 2 satellites. The 12 first satellites are expected to cost under $1 billion and would allow the system to start to operate. The following 18 would enable full global coverage. Ka-band to be used. With so few satellites, it can be guessed they will operate in MEO instead of LEO as initially planned. Launches should take place with Proton and Atlas 5.

In Sep 2002 Teledesic suspended the construction work at Alenia Spazio. The market condition is blamed for not provivind any success opportunities. At the same time, the company is reducing staff to under 10 persons.

In Jun 2003, it is learned that Teledesic returned its Ka-band licence. They also request suppression of all the LEOSTAR-1 ITU fillings.

Status: cancelled.

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