AIS Announcement – Six Tracking Satellites In Orbit

John Konrad
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August 27, 2008

Landsat 7 Satellite Under Construction

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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