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Globalstar plans revised satellite constellation
Posted: Sat, Aug 16, 2003, 12:01 PM ET (1601 GMT)
Globalstar satellite illustration Satellite communications provider Globalstar announced this week will reconfigure its existing satellites in orbit into a new constellation in response to several satellite failures. In the company’s quarterly 10-Q filing with the SEC, the company said it had petitioned the FCC to transition from a constellation that uses 48 operational satellites to one that requires only 40. The new constellation uses five satellites in each of eight orbital planes, instead of six satellites per plane in the original constellation. The FCC has not approved the revised system, but the company said it has already begun the transition, which can be reverted to the original configuration if needed. The company said the transition was required because of several on-orbit satellite failures that have created service gaps. The company took a $2.5 million charge in its fiscal fourth quarter to write off a satellite that failed in May, the fourth satellite to be lost. In addition, four other satellites are currently experiencing problems and are undergoing recovery operations. The company does have eight spare satellites on the ground it acquired earlier this year in a settlement with Loral, but Globalstar has no plans to launch the satellites in the foreseeable future. Globalstar, which has 93,000 subscribers, recorded a loss of $16.8 million in the quarter on $13.9 million in revenue in the second quarter. ICO acquired a majority interest in the company earlier this year for $55 million, and is expected to take the company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by the end of the year.
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