Globalstar, one of the original LEO constellation operators, has ordered 17 new satellites – the first such activity in a decade. On 24 February, the US operator contracted with recently independent Canadian manufacturer MDA Corp for the new satellites to ensure continuity of service into the future. The contract for these spacecraft is valued at US$327 million. In addition to this are options for up to nine further units – each with an initial value of US$11.4 million. MDA, as prime contractor, will be responsible for development of the payloads as well as final assembly and integration of the spacecraft.
The satellites are planned for delivery in 2025 to enable their launch before the end of that year. Globalstar states that it intends to contract for launch services and insurance at a later date.
MDA also announced on 24 February that it had selected Rocket Lab USA to develop and produce the satellite buses for the project. This contract has a starting value of US$143 million. Rocket Lab will be aided in this endeavour by its recent vertical integration following acquisitions of SolAero, ASI and Sinclair Interplanetary.