Globalstar has awarded SpaceX a contract to launch satellites with financial backing from Apple. The launch, which will add satellites to its low-Earth orbit (LEO) communications constellation, is due in 2025.
Globalstar has signed a contract with SpaceX
Globalstar announced it has entered into an agreement with SpaceX to launch a new set of satellites. The launch should take place in 2025. The company will pay a total of $64 million to launch these satellites, which were ordered from MDA last year, according to an Aug. 30 filing with regulator. The manufacturing contract includes an option to install up to nine additional satellites.
Globalstar’s $327 million contract with MDA covered 17 satellites, and is expected to be delivered in 2025. The manufacturing contract also includes an option for nine additional satellites at a cost of $11.4 million each.
The collaboration between Globalstar and SpaceX will enhance the Globalstar constellation for Earth orbit communications and provide improved satellite services to users around the world.
Apple funds Globalstar
Apple has agreed to reimburse Globalstar for 95% of the cost of the constellation. This includes production and launch costs. In addition, the smartphone giant is also providing a $252 million loan to Globalstar to cover start-up costs. In return, Apple will use 85% of the new network’s capacity to upgrade satellite services. The company needs this for its latest iPhone, which can connect to one of Globalstar’s 24 existing emergency satellites when cell towers are unavailable.
SpaceX also strives to provide satellite communications
SpaceX is also looking to provide connectivity directly to mass-market phones. To do this, the company uses the Starlink broadband constellation it operates in LEO. In August 2022, T-Mobile CEO and President Mike Sievert and SpaceX CEO and Chief Engineer Elon Musk announced Coverage Above and Beyond. It is a new plan to bring cell phone connectivity everywhere. Also earlier this week, KDDI Corporation signed an agreement with SpaceX to provide satellite communications services in Japan.
SpaceX is currently seeking regulatory approval in the US for more spectrum that could be used for the Starlink mobile satellite service, specifically including frequencies in the 1.6 GHz and 2.4 GHz spectrum bands used by Globalstar.