COMSAT, Inc. is currently a leading operator of customized, secure end-to-end satellite communications services. The company delivers a full portfolio of fixed satellite solutions (C-Band, Ku-Band, Ka-Band, X-Band and UHF), mobile satellite solutions (INMARSAT, Thuraya and Iridium) and teleport services to aeronautical, land-mobile and maritime users in multiple markets, including US government and military, global governments and commercial maritime.

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About COMSAT, Inc.


COMSAT, Inc. was originally created by the Communications Satellite Act of 1962 and incorporated as a publicly traded company in 1963. Its initial purpose was to serve as a public, federally funded corporation intended to develop a commercial and international satellite communications system press. With its rich heritage and as one of the pioneers in the satellite communications industry, COMSAT has been committed to the advancement of the industry since its creation in 1962.

The company’s mission is to ensure the success of our customers’ missions by providing secure, world-class satellite communications services for aero, land and maritime users. For decades, COMSAT has played an integral role in the growth and advancement of the industry, including being a founding member of Intelsat, operating the Marisat fleet network, which provided the first mobile satellite communications services to the United States Navy, and founding the initial operating system of Inmarsat from the company’s two earth stations. 


In August 1964 COMSAT assisted in the creation of the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (INTELSAT) and owned the majority of the shares. COMSAT became the first commercial company that owned satellites.

In April 1965 COMSAT launched its first commercial communications satellite, Early Bird (Intelsat I). The satellite was built by Hughes (Boeing CSS) and was the first to provide direct and nearly instantaneous contact between Europe and North America, handling television, telephone and telefacsimile transmissions.

In September 1969 COMSAT opened COMSAT Laboratories, a research and development arm in Clarksburg, Maryland that would be sold later, in 2001, to ViaSat to become the technology and product development group for communication systems.

In February 1973 COMSAT formed a new subsidiary, COMSAT General, for domestic satellite programs and other new business opportunities. In the same year the US Navy signed a 28 million USD contract for two years of maritime satellite services.

On February 19th 1976 the Marisat-F1 was launched on a Delta IV launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The spacecraft was capable of transmitting voice, data, facsimile and telex messages to and from ships at sea through special shore stations at Southbury, Connecticut and Saint Paul, CA, which were interconnected with existing domestic terrestrial networks.

In March 1980 COMSAT launched Satellite Business Systems (SBS) in partnership with IBM/Information Satellite Corporation and Aetna Insurance Company, to provide a digital satellite communications network for business and other professional clients. Through its existence SBS had six satellites in orbit and were all built by Hughes (Boeing CSS).

In 1982 the Marisat satellites along with three Marisat Earth Stations (two in the US – Southbury, Connecticut and Santa Paula, California – and one in Japan) formed the initial operating system for the International Maritime Satellite Organization (INMARSAT).

In July 1984, COMSAT left SBS and a year later, SBS was sold to MCI that migrated the voice and data traffic of most SBS customers to its terrestrial network.

In 1987 COMSAT Systems Division (CSD) was formed and continued until 1994 when it was combined with Radiation Systems Inc. (RSI) into COMSAT RSI (CRSI). COMSAT decided to make this acquisition after it lost several deals because competitors, including Radiation Systems, were charging lower prices.

As part of the Company’s new strategy to focus on core business of providing satellite communications services, COMSAT Corp. decided in 1997 to sell COMSAT RSI. COMSAT Corp. declared COMSAT RSI a discontinued operation and took a 60 million USD write-off. Following that year, in 1998, RSI was sold to Tripoint Global Communications an affiliate of TBG Industries, Inc, a privately owned New York holding company, for 116.5 million USD. COMSAT agreed to keep two divisions of RSI, called Electromechanical Systems, Inc. and Plexsys International Corp. and retained and completed a construction contract for a radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, USA.

On September 20th 1999 Defense & Security Company Lockheed Martin acquired COMSAT for 2.7 billion USD. With the integration of COMSAT, Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications moved away from the military business and toward global telecommunications and became the US owner, and the largest shareholder in both the INTELSAT and INMARSAT satellite systems.

In January 2002 COMSAT Mobile Communications was sold to Norwegian based Telenor Satellite Services. The sale included the two earth station facilities in Southbury, Connecticut and in Santa Paula, California. With the acquisition Telenor became one of the world’s largest global mobile satellite operators.

On February 11th, 2016 global aeronautical communications provider Satcom Direct Communications, Inc.  acquired Airbus Defense & Space Government, Inc. and renamed Satcom Direct Government, Inc.

To acknowledge its heritage as part of COMSAT Mobile, the company would do business as COMSAT.

Resources:  Edition February 1st, 1994  Edition April 20th, 1992  Edition March 18th, 1998  Edition Sept 21st, 1998