GE STARSYS HAS completed an initial agreement with France's Alcatel Telecom to build 24 satellites for launch into a low-Earth-orbit constellation to provide worldwide positioning, tracking, messaging and monitoring.

The 80kg satellites - which will be built by the Alcatel Espace division of Alcatel Telecom - will be operated on the VHF/UHF-frequency bands and fly in 1,000km circular orbits. Orbital Sciences' Orbcomm satellites and other planned systems represent Starsys' main competition. Alcatel Telecom is the payload supplier for the Globalstar satellite system.

Source: Flight International