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Author Topic:   AIS Tracking from Space
jimh posted 10-20-2008 03:52 PM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
The United States Coast Guard is apparently planning to purchase AIS data received from orbiting satellites operated by ORBCOMM Inc. An October 2008 press release notes:

-------------begin press release---------------
ORBCOMM and the U.S. Coast Guard Amend Agreement to Select High Data Usage and Add Software Upgrades

Business Wire, Oct 3, 2008

FORT LEE, N.J. -- ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC), a global satellite data communications company focused on two-way Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications, today announced that the U.S. Coast Guard has selected the high usage option for Automatic Identification System (AIS) data from the AIS concept demonstration satellite under its agreement with ORBCOMM. ORBCOMM will also modify the AIS satellite and ground software and provide additional technical support to the U.S. Coast Guard. In total, these amendments add almost $500,000 in revenue over the next 12-months.

"We are pleased that the U.S. Coast Guard has elected to exercise the high usage option for AIS data," said Marc Eisenberg, ORBCOMM's Chief Executive Officer. "This further demonstrates that the AIS service has been successful in providing the high usage data requirements under our agreement. We expect to further expand our AIS offering, including service from all six AIS enabled satellites, to the U.S. government as well as international governments, and global commercial customers."
-----------------end press release-----------------

ORBCOMM launched six satellites in June, 2008, bringing its constellation of low-earth orbiting satellites to 35. ORBCOMM describes itself as providing "low cost, reliable, two-way data communications services around the world through a global network of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites and accompanying ground infrastructure."

jimh posted 10-21-2008 12:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
More background on the reception of AIS signals from space-based receivers is given in a press release from January 2007:

------begin press release excerpt---------

January 24, 2007
Coast Guard Explores Space-Based System for Maritime Awareness

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard on Wednesday said it is "strongly considering" increasing its use of space-based signals to better monitor coastal water activity. "The Coast Guard has been using space systems for communications, navigation and weather since they first became available, but our use of space may increase considerably in the next few years," Dana Goward, director of the Coast Guard's maritime domain awareness program, said in a release.

The agency has been studying the feasibility of receiving maritime automatic identification system signals from space since 2001. In 2004, the Coast Guard awarded a five-year contract worth up to about $9 million to Orbcomm Inc., a satellite communications company.

The Fort Lee, N.J.-based firm has been tasked with developing and building the capability to receive, process and forward the identification signals from space through a receiver on a communications satellite. Orbcomm also is providing the ground systems to process the signals and relay the collected messages to the Coast Guard.

The system was originally designed as a collision avoidance tool, but Coast Guard engineers and scientists determined it could be used for ship tracking far out to sea if a receiver were placed on a spacecraft, Goward said.

The Department of Defense last month proved its effectiveness with the launch of a satellite equipped with an automatic identification receiver, according to the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard's Orbcomm satellite is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of this year, and the company plans to include the receivers in future satellites.

------end press release excerpt-----------

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