ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC), a global satellite data communications company focused on two-way Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, today announced the successful launch of VesselSat1, an Automatic Identification Service (AIS) enabled satellite built by LuxSpace Sarl (LuxSpace), an affiliate of OHB System AG. VesselSat1 launched from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) launch pad at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh near the Bay of the Bengal at 1:30 AM EDT. The satellite has been successfully separated from the PSLV launch vehicle in a proper equatorial orbit.
ORBCOMM is the exclusive licensee for the AIS data collected by VesselSat1. AIS data is used for ship tracking and other maritime navigational and safety efforts. After successful completion of in-orbit testing and check-out, VesselSat1 will expand the coverage of ORBCOMM’s satellite AIS service in the equatorial region, where there is significant shipping activity and critical need for maritime surveillance. This satellite will also provide additional capacity, higher refresh rates and improved message delivery speeds for ORBCOMM AIS users worldwide. In addition, VesselSat1 and VesselSat2, which is planned to be launched later this year, will supplement ORBCOMM’s next generation (OG2) constellation of 18 AIS-enabled satellites that currently are under construction. These two AIS-only satellites will have equatorial and polar orbits, respectively and provide ideal complements to the OG2 constellation.
“The successful launch of VesselSat1 into an equatorial orbit is a significant milestone in providing broader coverage, expanded data collection capabilities and higher detection rates for ORBCOMM’s AIS service,” said Marc Eisenberg, CEO of ORBCOMM. “We look forward to once again delivering AIS users the most comprehensive and near-real-time coverage of any satellite system in the market and to improve the visibility of vessel activity worldwide as we continue to enhance the functionality and performance of our network.”
VesselSat1 is undergoing initial in-orbit testing and is expected to enter into commercial service before year end.