Globalstar, the global mobile telephone service,
has extended its service coverage to an entirely new territory: outer

In a landmark program with NASA, a Flight Modem has been developed
that will utilize the Globalstar communications network to allow a
rocket or any other flight vehicle to communicate with ground
controllers without the traditional and costly equipment typically
associated with flight missions.

A prototype system, based on standard components from Globalstar
and other suppliers, was successfully flown in mid-February aboard an
Orion rocket from Kiruna, Sweden. Once the rocket reached a test
altitude at the edge of the earth’s atmosphere, the modem, which
weighed less than three pounds, phoned home via the Globalstar
satellite constellation. When used in future flights, the Flight Modem
can yield cost savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars per launch,
a drastic reduction in logistical issues, and worldwide access to
launch data from launch pad to orbit for critical telemetry and
systems data.

This space-bound Globalstar modem was a modified version of the
SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) modem that is now
being offered by Globalstar USA for use in industrial data
applications, such as reliable wireless remote asset tracking and
relaying telemetry information from remote sites.

“Packet data services like this are one of the fastest growing
markets in telecommunications,” said Tony Navarra, president of
Globalstar. “The unparalleled quality and coverage of the Globalstar
network ideally positions us to take advantage of this market,
bringing inexpensive, reliable communications and data services to a
broad number of industries and individuals. Globalstar is providing
the data dial tone in places where no other wireless network exists.”

The Flight Modem, located aboard the rocket, basically acts like a
Globalstar phone and places a call, through orbiting satellites, to
ground controllers. The modem can relay the position of the rocket and
may one day also provide information on the performance and health of
the vehicle and its payload. The modem was developed and tested at the
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops
Island, Va.

“With further development, the Flight Modem could become commonly
used equipment in aircraft and space launch vehicles,” said Jay
Pittman, Advanced Range Technology Initiative (ARTI) engineer at
Wallops. “We could imagine science or even commercial aircraft
`phoning in’ data for analysis from anywhere in the world and from any
kind of platform. The cost is so low and the concept so simple that it
could find a place in any number of applications.”

This is just one example of the expansion of Globalstar Data
Services beyond Internet and e-mail access. Other potential
applications include:

The oil and gas pipeline market, where operators could supervise

and control flow in real-time at multiple points without having to

deploy field personnel, reducing costs and increasing response


The transportation and shipping industries, tracking vehicle

location and collecting engine and environmental data.

Telemedicine, where users can use a link from a remote site to

connect to a medical facility.

About Globalstar

Globalstar is a partnership of the world’s leading
telecommunications service providers and equipment manufacturers,
including co-founders Loral Space & Communications and Qualcomm
Incorporated; Alenia; China Telecom (HK); DACOM; DaimlerChrysler
Aerospace; Elsacom (a Finmeccanica Company); Hyundai; TE.SA.M (a
France Telecom/Alcatel company); Space Systems/Loral; and Vodafone
Group Plc. For more information, visit Globalstar’s web site at