This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Odyssey

Class: Communications. Nation: United States. Agency: Odyssey Worldwide Services (commercial venture). Manufacturer: TRW, Teleglobe.

The Odyssey satellite network will provide global voice, fax, and message communications services to users equipped with portable handsets. The system is being developed as a joint commercial venture (called Odyssey World-wide Services) by TRW and Teleglobe Canada. Operations are planned to begin by the end of 1998. TRW estimates that it will cost $1.8B to build and launch the 12 satellites (with two ground spares), install ground stations in the US, and operate the system for 1 year. User costs are expected to be $250 - $300 for the cellular phone handset, $24 monthly charge, and 65 cents/minute use charges and 10 cents/minute access fees. TRW received FCC license in early 1995. Initial operation (end of 1998) will be provided by 6 satellites giving limited service to selected regions. The full constellation of 12 satellites is planned to be in place by the end of 1999.

Spacecraft: Spacecraft will rotate attitude to remain focused on a service region. Solar power is 4600 W (EOL). The satellites will connect the user to a Ka-band ground station, where the call is routed into the normal telephone system. No satellite crosslinks are used in this constellation. Each region will have one ground station equipped with four 5 m antennas.10 - 11 stations are planned world-wide. Payload: Channel capacity of each satellite: 3000 digital voice circuits at 4.8 kbps. Total beam width: 40 deg. provides coverage to regions 7400 km across. The beam is made up of 37 cells, each covering a 1100 km diameter circle. Power distribution will allow up to 25% of total satellite power to be concentrated in one cell, and 75% of the capacity could be focused on 10% of a region. Link margin is 6 to 10 dB. Each satellite has 37x25W bent-pipe S-Band transmitters (2486.42, 2491.75 and 2497.06 Mhz) with antenna gain of 25-30 dB from a 1.6 m reflector. Handset transmitter power will be 0.5W with a hemispherical antenna pattern using L-Band uplink (1612.32, 1618.25 and 1623.58 Mhz). Each of the 6 channels (3 uplink and 3 downlink) are 5.5 Mhz wide. The L-Band signals are received by the S/C with a 2.4 m reflector. Signals will use spread-spectrum CDMA.
FCC application September 26 1997 - $ 3.4 billion estimated for 19 units of the broad band system, 4 geosynchronous satellites, and 15 medium earth orbit satellites. Later revised to $ 3.2 billion for 12 units (3 planes x 4 satellites + 6 spares). Could not get financing as of September 1 1997. TRW received contract for $ 2280 million for 14 satellites in January 1996 including ground equipment but no launches booked.


Design Life: 15 years.


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .