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Program: Orbcomm


Telecommunication program operated by Orbcomm a subsidiary of OSC. It will consist of a network of LEO satellites to relay the GPS-determined locations of cargo trucks, and data from oil pipeline monitors. Orbcomm terminal will also be able to determine their own position based upon Doppler ranging of the satellite. Initial FCC authorization: Oct 1994.

Orbcomm has signed in Sep 1995 the final financing and contruction agreements for an expanded 36-Orbcomm satellite constellation, with Canada's Teleglobe investing $85 million and OSC $75 million. Technology Resources Industries Bhd. of Malaysia is also a shareholder.

Full-time service began in Dec 1998 (28 satellites). The full network is composed of 4 near-polar satellites and 32 satellites inclined at 45°. Altitude: about 775 km. The global cost of the system is evaluated $330 million

In April 1998 Orbcomm was granted by the FCC to operate 12 more satellites and to higher the altitude of some satellites to 815 km.

In July 2006, Orbcomm ordered 6 satellites from OHB System AG. The satellite buses are from Omsk. OSC will provide the communication payloads. Will receive the AIS signals. Those satellites experienced once launched several issues, from total power loss to computer problems and attitude control issues.

In May 2007, Orbcomm announced it would launch 25 new satellite to replenish its system. In a first phase, 7 satellites would be launched in a 670 km orbit to test the satellites and check compatibility with previous satellites. Then they will move to 750 km, 48.5° inclination. In the second phase, 18 satellites would be deployed in 3 planes of 6 satellites, 750 km circular, 48.5° inclination. Would use the same frequencies as before plus 161-163 MHz. The FCC approved the plan in April 2008.

In May 2008, Orbcomm Inc. signed a 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. SNC's team includes Boeing Intelligence and Security Systems (I&SS), ITT Space Systems and MicroSat Systems. The satellites will be fitted with Automatic Identification System (AIS) payloads. Orbit: 750 km, 51.7°. Should use 3 planes with 4 satellites and one plane with 5 satellites.

In May 2009, it appears that the 6 satellites launched in June 2008 are defective with reaction wheel problems and power supply problems. In-orbit insurance should be filled, but might not be paid because of the late discovery of the issues. In late 2009, Orbcomm received $44.25 million in compensation.

In Sep 2014, the first set of 6 G2 satellites were declared operational.

The commercial operation of the G2 fleet started in March 2016: M2M messaging and AIS service.

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