Globalstar today announced today that all its second generation satellites are now in full commercial service. The Low Earth Orbit satellite phone company had voice operations virtually haulted by deteriorization of their first generation satellites.
Industry analysts speculate the problem was caused by radiation exposure the satellites receive when they pass through the South Atlantic Anomaly in their 876 mile (1414 km) altitude orbits.
The company was still able to offer SPOT-banded consumer products that used a different frequency band.
Each satellite operates at an altitude of 1,414km (approximately 876 miles).
The satellites utilize “bent-pipe” architecture. On any given call, several satellites transmit a caller’s signal via CDMA technology to a satellite dish at the appropriate gateway where the call is then routed locally through the terrestrial telecommunications system.
Thales Alenia Space built the Globalstar satellites. Globalstar and Thales reached a settlement over mutual lawsuits and Thales has agreed to complete its Phase 2 contract and deliver the remaining Batch 4 satellites so that a fourth launch of six satellites could be conducted in February.
With 24 satellites 2nd gen satellites in service, Globalstar says it’s back in the 2-way voice and data game. These new satellites have a 15-year design life, doubling the life span of Globalstar’s earlier satellites.
Thales Alenia Space officials say they have analyzed the Globalstar constellation and have concluded, as has Globalstar, that the company’s business plan could be realized with 30 satellites in orbit, not the 48 originally ordered.
In other news, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee wants to terminate a DARPA effort to study a constellation of low-cost imaging satellites able to deliver real-time data to hand-held devices. The SeeMe constellation would consist of some two-dozen satellites, each lasting 60-90 days in a very low-earth orbit before de-orbiting and completely burning up.
DARPA requested $10.5 million for 2014 for the Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements (SeeMe) project. But in its version of the 2014 defense spending bill, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended “program termination.”
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