Comsat General Corp., using its satellite expertise, will begin offering a special new worldwide service to help satellite owners and manufacturers launch and keep satellites in orbit.
This new service by the subsidiary of the Washington-based Communications Satellite Corp. will complement launch-support services being offered by Comsat in cooperation with the international satellite consortium, Intelsat, the organization that operates satellites for international communications on behalf of many foreign governments.
Comsat officials say the Intelsat arrangement cannot provide all the launch-support services required, given the growth in the number of satellites being launched as well as the increasing complexity of the satellites, which require many more weeks of testing before their proper operation can be assured.
As a result, Comsat General says it will step in and provide a wide range of services, from tracking and control services at both high and low frequencies, to controlling satellites during launch and transfer in orbit.
The service, which will cost about $6 million to start, will be available to any company, no matter whether it launches a satellite via the space shuttle or through Ariane, the French satellite concern.
"The multiple spacecraft payload capacity of both the space shuttle and the Ariane has resulted in a developing, commercially viable market for a global service of this sort," said William L. Mayo, vice president of Comsat General's Satellite Systems.
Frederick W. Weber, vice president of operations for Comsat General, will be responsible for developing the Launch Support Network.