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International Telecommunications Satellite Organization

From Academic Kids

Intelsat is the world's largest commercial satellite communications services provider. It is an international consortium that owns and manages a constellation of communications satellites (Intelsats) to provide international broadcast services. Ownership and investment in ITSO (measured in shares) is distributed among ITSO members according to their respective use of services. Investment shares determine each member's percentage of the total contribution needed to finance capital expenditures. The organization's primary source of revenue comes from satellite usage fees which, after deduction of operating costs, are redistributed to ITSO members in proportion to their shares as repayment of capital and compensation for use of capital. Satellite services are available to any organization (both ITSO members and non-members), and all users pay the same rates.

The consortium began on August 20, 1964 as the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium with 11 participating countries. On April 6 1965, Intelsat's first satellite, the Early Bird, was placed in geostationary orbit above the Atlantic Ocean by a Delta D rocket.

In 1973, the name was changed and there were 80 signatories. ITSO currently has over 100 members and provides service to over 600 Earth stations in more than 149 countries, territories and dependencies. Intelsat maintains it headquarters in Bermuda, with a majority of staff and satellite functions located at the Intelsat Global Services Corporation offices in Washington, DC.

On July 18 2001, Intelsat became a private company, Intelsat, Ltd., after 37 years as an intergovernmental organization.

Spacecraft operations are controlled through ground stations in Fucino, Italy, Clarksburg, Maryland (USA), Beijing, China, Raisting, Germany, Perth, Australia, and Paumalu, Hawaii (USA).

Since its inception, ITSO has used several versions (blocks) of its dedicated Intelsat satellites. ITSO competes each block of spacecraft independently, leading to a variety of contractors over the years. Intelsat's largest spacecraft supplier is Space Systems/Loral, having built 31 spacecraft (as of 2003), or nearly half of the Intelsat fleet.

Intelsat was sold for US $3.1bn in August 2004 to four private equity firms: Madison Dearborn Partners, Apax Partners, Permira and Apollo Management.

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