Press Release

Teledesic Close to Naming Prime Contractor for Internet-in-the-Sky Network

By SpaceRef Editor
August 21, 2001
Filed under , ,

Finalists Include Alenia Spazio and Lockheed Martin

Teledesic LLC, a
satellite communications services company, today announced that it has
down-selected satellite manufacturers Alenia Spazio, a member company
of the Finmeccanica group in Italy, and Lockheed Martin Commercial
Space Systems of the United States as the two finalists to build
Teledesic’s global, broadband Internet-in-the-Sky® satellite
communications network.

Teledesic intends to select one prime contractor and finalize its
contract this fall.

“Despite the current financial markets, we still intend to deliver
on our promise of broadband connectivity on a global scale,” said
Dennis James, Teledesic’s president. “We are confident that we can
work with either of these world-class satellite manufacturers to
complete and deliver an initial system that will be significantly less
expensive than earlier designs.”

Teledesic has been engaged in active discussions with potential
domestic and international industrial partners to determine the best,
most cost-effective path forward for its broadband satellite
communications network. The company has received its Federal
Communications Commission license and the necessary international
spectrum allocation from the International Telecommunication Union to
begin offering service on a global basis.

Both Alenia Spazio and Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems
(LMCSS) have experience building non-geostationary orbit (NGSO)
satellite systems. This experience, together with their existing
manufacturing, integration and testing facilities and processes will
reduce risk in developing and deploying a NGSO system under tight

In addition, these prior programs enable the use of cost-effective
satellite manufacturing techniques and capitalize on prior supplier
relationships for manufacturing low-cost NGSO systems.

Alenia Spazio was responsible for integration and testing on the
Globalstar program. It built a factory for this purpose in Rome that
can be readily used for manufacturing Teledesic’s satellites. Alenia
Spazio has developed extensive testing procedures and processes that
enable the company to build satellites in a short time period. Alenia
Spazio also was the first satellite manufacturer to build commercial
geostationary Ka-band satellites.

“We are confident that the present market situation will be
overcome and that broadband satellite constellations will become a
must in the future. We are also confident that with our past
experience and current involvement Alenia Spazio can do a good job for
Teledesic. We are prepared to face the stiff competition and trust
that we shall become a major partner of Teledesic,” said Alenia Spazio
CEO Giuseppe Viriglio.

Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems was the supplier of the
Iridium satellite bus, or chassis. LMCSS has experience in building
low-cost buses for NGSO systems as well as extensive experience
developing Ka-band system payloads, the “brains” of the satellite.
Teledesic’s satellite will operate in the high-frequency Ka-band of

“We are pleased that Teledesic has selected Lockheed Martin to be
a finalist to develop its global, broadband satellite communications
system,” said Ted Gavrilis, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial
Space Systems. “Our team has the talent and experience to provide a
world-class solution and we look forward to working with Teledesic on
this exciting program.”


Telecommunications pioneer Craig McCaw and Microsoft founder Bill
Gates are Teledesic’s two primary founding investors. Strategic
investors also include Motorola, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, The
Boeing Company and The Abu Dhabi Investment Company. Teledesic is the
first licensed satellite communications network that will enable
affordable, worldwide access to advanced telecommunications services
such as computer networking, broadband Internet access and interactive
multimedia. Teledesic will deliver broadband data and value-added
services over a global network optimized for the Internet Protocol.
Teledesic (pronounced “tel-eh-DEH-sic”) is based in Bellevue, a suburb
of Seattle, Washington, with offices in Brussels, Belgium; London,
United Kingdom; Madrid, Spain; Ottawa, Canada; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia;
and Washington, D.C.

With experience dating back to the early 1960s, Alenia Spazio has
played a primary role in the construction of the telecommunications
satellites Intelsat, Hot Bird, Arabsat and Panamsat and has
integrated, in less than two years, all 72 satellites of the
Globalstar constellation for mobile telephony. It is prime contractor
for a number of national and international programs such as Italsat,
Artemis, Sicral, Atlantic Bird 1, SkyPlexNet and EuroSkyWay.

Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems markets, designs and
builds geostationary and non-geostationary telecommunications and
remote sensing satellites for customers worldwide. LMCSS is an
operating unit of Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, one of the
core business areas of the Lockheed Martin Corporation .
Lockheed Martin has a 41-year heritage of building reliable spacecraft
for commercial and military customers, having launched more than 875
spacecraft and clocking nearly 1,500 years of on-orbit performance

Editors’ Note: Teledesic and Internet-in-the-Sky are registered
service marks of Teledesic LLC.

SpaceRef staff editor.