WASHINGTON — Spain’s Ministry of Defence approved the use of Globalstar’s GSP-1700 handheld satellite phone by its personnel and ordered an additional 300 of the company’s SPOTGen3 GPS tracking and safety devices, Globalstar’s Dublin-based Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd. subsidiary announced Oct. 2.

The Spanish Ministry of Defence, which has been equipping field personnel with SPOT devices since 2012, has more than 500 SPOT devices deployed in the field, according to a Globalstar press release. The devices allow personnel located in remote areas without cellular coverage to be tracked, as well as communicate with central command for fast recovery in case of emergency.

“Traditional communications rely on line of sight from one base station to the next, but those base stations can be at risk in a crisis or war situation. Instead, satellite communications provide increased reliability levels,” Gavan Murphy, Globalstar’s director of marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said in the announcement.

In a separate press release issued Sept. 29, Globalstar’s European subsidiary said that it had begun construction of a Globalstar gateway in Botswana that will provide coverage across southern Africa for SPOT devices and the company’s Simplex service, or one-way communications capability for tracking and monitoring equipment.

The gateway, which Globalstar is building in partnership with Broadband Botswana Internet, is expected to be operational by the end of 2014 and will provide coverage in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Madagascar, Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Angola, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia, as well as surrounding stretches of ocean.

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Brian Berger is editor in chief of SpaceNews.com and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined SpaceNews.com in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. His reporting on the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident was...