Orbcomm Announces Successful Launch of Six Satellites
[Satellite Today – 6-20-08] Orbcomm Inc. announced that six new Orbcomm satellites were successfully launched from Kapustin Yar, Russia at 2:36 AM EDT June 19. The satellites have been successfully separated from the launch vehicle in the proper orbit. Each satellite is undergoing initial in-orbit testing and is expected to enter into commercial service within the next three months.
The Coast Guard and five Quick Launch satellites will be positioned optimally to augment the existing Orbcomm constellation, providing additional capacity and improved message delivery speeds for current and future Orbcomm users. In addition, these satellites are equipped with Automatic Identification System (AIS) payloads, which will enable them to receive and report AIS transmissions to be used for ship tracking and other navigational activities. Orbcomm has been working closely with the U.S. Coast Guard on the AIS project, and also intends to market AIS data to other U.S. and international government agencies, as well as to companies whose businesses require such information.
The launch of these six spacecraft is part of Orbcomm’s long term plan to expand and upgrade its existing constellation of 29 satellites. Orbcomm plans to launch 18 satellites in three separate missions of six satellites each between 2010 and 2011.