Press Release

ORBCOMM and SpaceX Improve Launch Plans for OG2 Satellites

By SpaceRef Editor
December 29, 2011
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Enhanced Worldwide Coverage with an Additional Polar Launch of Two OG2 Satellites

ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC) and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) today announced the launch schedule for ORBCOMM’s second generation (OG2) satellites. The updated plan includes launching the first OG2 prototype satellite on the first Cargo Re-supply Services (CRS) mission in mid-2012, followed closely by an additional launch of two OG2 satellites into a high inclination orbit as a secondary payload in late 2012. In early 2013, SpaceX plans to launch eight to twelve OG2 satellites, and the remainder of the constellation of 18 OG2 satellites is expected to be launched in 2014. All launches are expected to be on Falcon 9 rockets.

“ORBCOMM has been a great partner and we are looking forward to launch.”

In transitioning the launch of the first OG2 prototype spacecraft to the first CRS mission in lieu of the upcoming Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) mission, and adding the launch of two spacecraft toward the second half of 2012, ORBCOMM is able to field additional spacecraft in 2012 resulting in increased coverage, while spreading the deployment across multiple launches thereby reducing risk. SpaceX will fully verify the mission performance on the COTS mission and focus on the successful berthing of the Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS).

The inclusion of two OG2 satellites as a secondary payload on a high inclination insertion orbit will enable ORBCOMM to significantly improve messaging services in polar latitudes. Additionally, it provides the ability to thoroughly test and verify OG2 satellite performance before the primary launch of eight to twelve OG2 satellites.

“We are excited to put ORBCOMM’s second generation satellites into orbit as scheduled, in the most desirable inclinations with the least amount of risk.” said Elon Musk, founder and CEO of SpaceX. “ORBCOMM has been a great partner and we are looking forward to launch.”

“We are pleased that SpaceX has offered ORBCOMM this opportunity to launch two satellites that will help our customers using our OG2 messaging services, and additionally augment service to our maritime Automatic Identification System (AIS) customers that benefit from coverage at higher inclinations,” said Marc Eisenberg CEO of ORBCOMM. “The net outcome of these revised launch plans has us launching OG2 satellites at a faster pace with less risk.”

The parameters of the Falcon 9 launch of eight to twelve OG2 satellites as its primary mission in early 2013 will be optimized to ensure the best coverage for the enhanced OG2 messaging services. ORBCOMM expects several OG2 satellites will be directly inserted into a specific plane to immediately improve messaging services while other satellites will be put into a transfer orbit and drift to their final orbit location. ORBCOMM expects the drifting operation will take several months to occur and that the satellites will be functional and providing messaging services during this period.

About ORBCOMM Inc.

ORBCOMM is a leading global satellite data communications company, focused on Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications. Its customers include Caterpillar Inc., Doosan Infracore America, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Asset Intelligence (a division of I.D. Systems, Inc.), 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, ORBCOMM’s low-cost and reliable two-way data communication services 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. Through the recently acquired StarTrak Information Technologies, LLC, ORBCOMM is an innovator and leading provider of tracking, monitoring and control services for the refrigerated transport market. Under its ReeferTrak(R) and GenTrakTM brands, the company provides customers with the ability to proactively monitor, manage and remotely control their refrigerated transport assets. Additionally, ORBCOMM is a leading provider of Automated Identification Services (AIS) used by governments and select commercial customers worldwide. AIS is a shipboard broadcast service that transmits a vessel’s identification and position, and its use has been mandated by The International Maritime Organization on all Safety of Life at Sea vessels. ORBCOMM is headquartered in Fort Lee, New Jersey and has its network control center in Dulles, Virginia. For more information, visit www.orbcomm.com.

About SpaceX

SpaceX designs and builds highly-advanced rockets and spacecraft that are increasing the reliability of space transportation. SpaceX has a diverse manifest of 40 launches to deliver commercial and government satellites to orbit. With the retirement of the Space Shuttle, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft will start carrying cargo, and one day astronauts, to and from the Space Station for NASA. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company in history to put a spacecraft into orbit and return it safely to earth – a feat previously achieved by just 6 nations or government agencies. Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has over 1,500 employees in California, Texas, Washington, D.C. and Florida. For more information, visit www.SpaceX.com.

SpaceRef staff editor.