Digital Ship tells us:
ORBCOMM has successfully launched six AIS-equipped satellites (a Coast Guard Concept Demonstration satellite and five Quick Launch satellites) after the Cosmos 3M rocket carrying the company’s payload blasted off at 10:36am Moscow time (06:36 GMT) from Kapustin Yar, in the Astrakhan Region, on June 19. The satellites are equipped with Automatic Identification System (AIS) technology to receive and report transmissions from AIS-equipped maritime vessels from anywhere within the satellite coverage area, information which is expected to be of major interest to authorities interested in Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) in the marine domain. ORBCOMM says it intends to market this AIS data to US and international coast guards and government agencies, as well as to companies whose businesses require ship tracking and other navigational activities. These satellites represent the first stage of a multi-year satellite upgrade plan, which ORBCOMM says now makes it the only satellite company providing worldwide commercial AIS data services.
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In related news INMARST has launched their third INMARSAT-4 satellite. Maritime Executive tells us:
The satellite was launched on a Proton Breeze M rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11.43pm BST on 18th August (4.43am 19th August, local time). Inmarsat’s tracking station in Fucino, Italy was able to track the satellite while it was still coupled to the Breeze M launch vehicle. Launch provider ILS confirmed successful spacecraft separation at 8.46am BST on 19th August.
The satellite is the third in the I-4 constellation, concluding a decade of development and a $1.5 billion investment. The current constellation of two Inmarsat-4 satellites delivers mobile broadband services to 85 per cent of the world’s landmass, covering 98 per cent of the world’s population. The third I-4 will complete the global coverage for Inmarsat’s broadband services.
Andrew Sukawaty, CEO and Chairman of Inmarsat, said: “The Inmarsat-4s are the world’s most sophisticated commercial network for mobile voice and data services, and the successful launch of the third I-4 allows us to complete the global coverage for our broadband services. Once the third I-4 is operational, Inmarsat will have the only fully-funded next-generation network for mobile satellite services.”
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