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Operational milestones & timetable for new satellite launch

Supplier: Pivotel Satellite
12 May, 2010

Implementation timeline for planning, manufacture, and launch of the world’s newest global commercial satellite constellation is 95-percent complete.

Globalstar, Inc. (NASDAQ:GSAT), a leading provider of mobile satellite voice and data services to businesses, government, and consumers, today announced the key operational milestones and associated timetable for the upcoming launch of Globalstar second-generation satellite constellation.

The advanced second-generation constellation, which secures Globalstar's space segment beyond the year 2025, will be the world’s newest commercial satellite network. The deployment of the constellation is expected to afford the Company up to a five-year competitive advantage over its primary mobile satellite services (MSS) competitor, which still has not yet named a manufacturer for its second-generation satellites.

Globalstar began the planning phase for its new constellation in 2005, more than five years ago, and the Company signed an agreement with satellite manufacturer Alcatel Alenia Space (now Thales Alenia Space) in 2006. Since then Globalstar has overcome operational challenges and completed many significant milestones, including a 2009 $738 million financing, in order to be in a position to make today’s announcement. A few of the key accomplishments to date include:

  • March 2007
    • Globalstar signs contract with Alcatel Alenia Space (Thales) to upgrade satellite operations and control center
  • September 2007
    • Globalstar signs launch services contract with Arianespace for Globalstar’s second-generation constellation
  • May 2008
    • Globalstar signs agreement with Hughes Network Systems to develop proprietary satellite air interface and delivery of next-generation ground network equipment, software upgrades and satellite handset chipset
  • August 2008
    • Satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space begins production assembly, integration, and testing of the first Globalstar second-generation flight model satellites
  • October 2008
    • Globalstar signs agreement for second-generation network round core network segment with Ericsson Federal
  • July 2009
    • Globalstar completes $738 million financing to fully fund anufacture and launch of 24 new Globalstar second-generation satellites
    • Globalstar begins construction of final telemetry and control unit (TCU) ground station in Southern Africa
  • January 2010
    • Globalstar announces launch window for the first launch of six second-generation satellites is scheduled to begin on July 5th.

Launch Window
In January 2010, Globalstar announced that the first 90-day window to launch six Globalstar second-generation satellites will open on July 5, 2010. The launch of the new satellites is expected in the September or early October timeframe with the actual launch date to be announced in the upcoming months. The operational milestones being announced today are consistent with that schedule.

The satellites will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan using the highly reliable Soyuz launch vehicle, the same vehicle used to launch astronauts and cosmonauts to the international space station. Globalstar expects to conduct four launches of six satellites each using the Soyuz which has been used to successfully launch Globalstar satellites on eight previous occasions. The 24 new second-generation satellites will be integrated with the eight firstgeneration satellites that were launched in 2007.

Calendar of Globalstar Key Operational Milestones & Timelines:

  • Announcement of Satellite Dispenser Approval by Arianespace (May)
  • Satellite Operations (Ground) Control Center Upgrades Completed (May)
  • Globalstar Second-generation Satellite Delivery Announcement (July)
  • 90-day Launch Window Opens (July)
  • Launch Vehicle Readiness Review (July)
  • Announce Launch Date and Begin Launch Campaign (August)
  • Satellite Mating to Dispenser and Rollout (September)
  • Launch

"While there are some critical activities ahead of us, from a pure timeline perspective we're about 95-percent of the way through the process of planning, designing, manufacturing and launching the first of our new satellites," said Tony Navarra, President, Global Operations for Globalstar, Inc.

"Our committed team of highly skilled partners and employees continue to deliver on-time and onbudget, giving us the confidence today to announce the remaining milestones that will take us to the finish line. Although it may seem overwhelming to be so close to delivering a state-of-the-art network that will secure the Globalstar space segment for the next 15 years, we are simply continuing to execute on a detailed plan that we began to implement more than five years ago."

Globalstar expects to be the first global mobile satellite voice and data company to deliver and deploy a second-generation satellite constellation. Once the new Globalstar satellites are in operational orbit, the most immediate impact will be on those customers who use the Company's voice and duplex data services.

With each of the first four launches, these customers can expect a progressive return to the high reliability and service quality enjoyed before 2007. Once the constellation is fully deployed, the new constellation and next-generation ground network are designed to provide Globalstar customers with increased data speeds of up to 256 kbps in a flexible Internet protocol multimedia subsystem (IMS) configuration.

Products and services supported are expected to include: push-to-talk and multicasting, advanced messaging capabilities such as multimedia messaging or MMS, mobile video, geo-location services, multi-band and multi-mode handsets, and data devices with GPS integration.

Source: Pivotel Group