THE US Federal Aviation Administration projects that aggressive growth in the market for satellite-provided services will lead to deployment of five big low-earth-orbit (LEO) systems, three little LEO systems and one large broadband LEO system between 1997 and 2006.

The Office of Commercial Space Transportation defines big LEO constellations as those supporting cellular telephone networks, and little LEO constellations as those supporting non-voice data communications such as for pagers. A broadband satellite system, on the other hand, supports high-speed data transmissions and video conferencing.

The high-growth forecast for launch-services demand projects a need for 132-174 "small" launches (those of less than 4,540kg to LEO) and 120-156 medium-to-large launches (those of greater than 4,540kg to LEO) during the forecast period.

Source: Flight International