ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC), a global satellite data communications company focused on two-way Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, today announced that the single prototype of its second generation of satellites (OG2), launched as a secondary mission payload on the Cargo Re-Supply Services (CRS-1) mission of October 7, 2012, verified various functionality checkouts prior to its deorbit. The OG2 prototype was deployed into a lower orbit as the result of a pre-imposed safety check required by NASA. The safety check was designed to protect the International Space Station and its crew. Had ORBCOMM been the primary payload on this mission, as planned for the upcoming launches, we believe the OG2 prototype would have reached the desired orbit.
Notwithstanding the shortened life of the OG2 prototype, the OG2 program engineering teams from ORBCOMM, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Boeing made significant strides in testing various hardware components. After telemetry and command capability was established, several critical system verifications were performed. The solar array and communications payload antenna deployments were successful, along with verifying the performance of various components of both the OG2 satellite bus and the communications payload. The OG2 satellite bus systems including power, attitude control, thermal and data handling were also tested to verify proper operation. The unique communications payload, which incorporates a highly reprogrammable software radio with common hardware for both gateway and subscriber messaging, also functioned as expected.
These verification successes achieved from the single prototype satellite validate that the innovative OG2 satellite technology operates as designed before launching the full constellation of OG2 satellites. With this verification data, ORBCOMM can focus on completing and launching the OG2 satellites as the primary mission payloads on two planned Falcon 9 launches, the first in mid-2013 and the second in 2014, directly into their operational orbit.
“We appreciate the complexity and work that SpaceX put into this launch,” stated Marc Eisenberg, ORBCOMM’s CEO. “SpaceX has been a supportive partner, and we are highly confident in their team and technology.”