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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 VesselSat2, an Automatic Identification Service (AIS) enabled satellite built by LuxSpace Sarl (LuxSpace), an affiliate of OHB System AG. VesselSat2 was launched by the China Great Wall Industry Corporation from the Tiayuan Satellite Launch Center (TSLC) in the Shanxi Province of the People’s Republic of China on January 8, 2012 at 10:17 PM EST. The satellite was successfully deployed from the Long March launch vehicle into its proper polar orbit. AIS data is used for ship tracking and other maritime navigational and safety efforts.
After successful completion of in-orbit testing and check-out, VesselSat2 will expand ORBCOMM’s satellite AIS service globally, providing complete global coverage, including the North and South Poles. VesselSat1, which was launched into an equatorial orbit on October 12, 2011 is providing full commercial service, and along with VesselSat2 will provide higher probability of vessel detection, greater refresh rates, and improved message delivery speeds for ORBCOMM’s AIS users worldwide. ORBCOMM is the exclusive licensee for the AIS data collected by VesselSat1 and VesselSat2, and these AIS-only satellites will supplement ORBCOMM’s next generation (OG2) constellation of 18 AIS-enabled satellites that currently are under construction.
“We are excited to announce the successful launch of VesselSat2, enabling ORBCOMM’s satellite AIS service to provide complete global coverage,” said Marc Eisenberg, CEO of ORBCOMM. “AIS users will experience an even higher quality of service, including lower latency and optimal data delivery, solidifying our market leadership and bringing us another step closer to providing unmatched AIS service as we deploy our next generation constellation.”
VesselSat2 is undergoing initial in-orbit testing and is expected to enter into commercial service before the end of the first quarter of 2012. VesselSat1 is fully functional and significantly outperforming prior space-based technologies.