I frequently use this phrase to describe my life; between GlobaFone, travel, family events, community service and relaxation time, there is….well, you get the idea. The satellite industry is the same.
If you’ve visited the new GlobaFone website, you’ll see/hear in the main page video that ‘there is plenty going on’. How true. Here are a few examples:
IRIDIUM: Now that the financing package has been completed and signed Thales Space is going to ramp up production and build 81 NEXT Iridium satellites. This of course will bring Iridium up to the estimated 2014/2015 launch of NEXT.
GLOBALSTAR: Last Tuesday held a landmark event for the satellite phone provider as the Soyuz rocket carried six satellites in the first of four launches into orbit. The three remaining launches will add 18 more satellites so the new constellation will consist of 32 satellites. Over the next year, there will be a noticeable improvement to coverage and connectivity on Globalstar phones. The simplex data service is working just great, as demonstrated by the strong numbers coming from the SPoT division. And there is now an intrinsically safe SPoT available for workers who need one-way messaging and tracking in a potentially hazardous environment.
INMARSAT: Not to be out-done by the implied rivals to the iSAT Phone, Inmarsat had announced recently the development of a new constellation for some years out. This follows on the completion of the I-4/BGAN launch completed just two years ago. Unfortunately the iSAT Phone has met what I consider to be expected results; it works great near the equator, not too well north or south.
TERRESTAR: Having announced the launch of the Genus phone just weeks ago, they have filed Chapter 11. This must be a record – it Both Globalstar and Iridium took at least a year to get to that point back in 1999/2000. Both have recovered and done well so we’ll see what the future holds for this cell/satellite phone hybrid. Unfortunately the initial reviews of the satellite capability are not too favorable in terms of the time it takes to set up and actually make a satellite call. And with an embedded antenna, one would think pointing in the right direction to the GEO satellite might be a difficult. We’ll see what comes of their move to bankruptcy protection.
Yes, there is never a dull moment in this business. Constant change is the norm and exciting developments continue to shape the industry. As they happen we’ll keep you up to date.
Thanks for reading today.