This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001.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

Program: Orbcomm. Objective: Technology. Type: Comsat.

Orbcomm is a commercial venture to provide global messaging services using a constellation of 26 low-Earth orbiting satellites. The planned system is designed to handle up to 5 million messages from users utilising small, portable terminals to transmit and receive messages directly to the satellites. The first two satellites of the constellation experienced communications problems after launch, but were recovered and placed into operational status. The nominal 26 satellite constellation will be controlled from a single control centre located in Dulles, Virginia. The cost per satellite has been estimated at $1.2 million. A small forerunner vehicle, Orbcomm-X, was launched in 1991 as a feasibility demonstration. This vehicle had a different design than the operational vehicles and will not be included in the operational system. Each spacecraft carries 17 data processors and seven antennas. Designed to handle 50,000 messages per hour. Long boom is a 2.6 meter VHF/UHF gateway antenna. Receive: 2400 bps at 148 - 149.9 MHz. Transmit: 4800 bps at 137 - 138 MHz and 400.05 - 400.15 MHz. The system uses X.400 (CCITT 1988) addressing. Message size is 6 to 250 bytes typical (no maximum). Financial/Operational: $ 330 million program. 3 planes x 8 satellites. Satellite costs $ 135 million for 26 units. Major Events: .

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