ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC) and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announce they have reached an agreement for SpaceX to launch 18 ORBCOMM Generation 2 (OG2) satellites to begin as early as the fourth quarter of 2010 through 2014. SpaceX will deliver ORBCOMMâ€™s second-generation satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO) for the purpose of supporting ORBCOMMâ€™s existing constellation of satellites, adding new features, and growing its global Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Automatic Identification System (AIS) offerings.
Each new satellite will be equipped with an enhanced communication payload designed to increase subscriber capacity for M2M communication up to 12 times over the current satellite constellation, increase message sizes, and include AIS detection capability.
SpaceX plans to launch the second-generation satellites on multiple Falcon 1e launch vehicles, an enhanced version of SpaceXâ€™s Falcon 1 launch vehicle. Most recently, Falcon 1 successfully delivered the RazakSAT satellite to orbit for ATSB of Malaysia. Designed from the ground up by SpaceX, the Falcon 1e has upgraded propulsion, structures and avionics systems in order to further improve reliability and mass-to-orbit capability.
â€œORBCOMM has chosen SpaceX as a launch solution that meets ORBCOMMâ€™s current requirements and potential future launch needs,â€ said Marc Eisenberg, Chief Executive Officer of ORBCOMM. â€œThrough this agreement ORBCOMM has a strategic launch partner that provides a valuable solution now and in the future.â€
â€œSpaceX is pleased to be ORBCOMMâ€™s choice for these important missions,â€ said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX. â€œBy leveraging the flight-proven architecture of the Falcon 1 launch vehicle, the Falcon 1e will provide the OG2 satellites with a highly reliable and cost-effective ride to orbit.”
ORBCOMM is a leading global satellite data communications company, focused on Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications. Its customers include Caterpillar Inc., Doosan Infracore America, General Electric, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Komatsu Ltd., Manitowoc Crane Companies, Inc., and Volvo Construction Equipment among other industry leaders. By means of a global network of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites and accompanying ground infrastructure, ORBCOMMâ€™s low-cost and reliable two-way data communications track, monitor and control mobile and fixed assets in four core markets: commercial transportation; heavy equipment; industrial fixed assets; and marine/homeland security. ORBCOMM-based products are installed on trucks, containers, marine vessels, locomotives, backhoes, pipelines, oil wells, utility meters, storage tanks and other assets. ORBCOMM is headquartered in Fort Lee, New Jersey and has its network control center in Dulles, Virginia. For more information, visit www.orbcomm.com.
SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles and spacecraft intended to increase the reliability and reduce the cost of both manned and unmanned space transportation, ultimately by a factor of ten. With the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 vehicles, SpaceX offers highly reliable/cost-efficient launch capabilities for spacecraft insertion into any orbital altitude and inclination. Starting in 2010, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will provide Earth-to-LEO transport of pressurized and unpressurized cargo, including resupply to the International Space Station (ISS).
Founded in 2002, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund and DFJ. The SpaceX team now numbers over 800, with corporate headquarters in Hawthorne, California. For more information, please visit the company’s web site at www.spacex.com.