Globalstar, SpaceX Sign Deal for Apple-Backed Satellite Launch

Ios 16 iphone 14 pro emergency sos connected to satellite 1

Satellite services provider Globalstar has announced a groundbreaking deal with SpaceX to launch a set of Apple-backed satellites in 2025. The move aims to fortify Globalstar’s low Earth orbit (LEO) connectivity constellation.

According to an August 30 regulatory filing, Globalstar will invest $64 million in SpaceX to handle the first series of satellite launches, reports SpaceNews. These satellites are being manufactured by MDA, which has subcontracted Rocket Lab for the spacecraft chassis. Globalstar’s contract with MDA, worth $327 million, covers 17 satellites expected to be delivered by 2025. The contract also has an option for an additional nine satellites, each priced at $11.4 million.

Apple has pledged to cover 95% of the project’s total costs, including manufacturing and launching the satellites. Additionally, Apple is providing Globalstar with a loan of $252 million to help cover initial expenses. In return for this investment, Apple will utilize 85% of the new network’s capacity to bolster satellite services for its latest iPhones, which can access Globalstar’s existing 24 satellites for emergency services in areas where cellular towers are unavailable.

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models offer a satellite-based Emergency SOS feature that allows you to text emergency services even when you’re outside the range of cellular and Wi-Fi networks. Additionally, these models enable you to share your location with others through the Find My app using satellite connectivity.

Globalstar plans to use the remaining 15% of the network’s capacity to maintain its legacy services, which include specialized satellite phones and monitoring and tracking devices.

SpaceX is also in the process of seeking regulatory approval for additional spectrum, potentially coinciding with frequencies used by Globalstar, for a mobile Starlink service.