Intelsat, Ltd. is the world’s largest commercial satellite communications services provider. Originally formed as International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT), it was an intergovernmental consortium owning and managing a constellation of communications satellites providing international broadcast services. As of 2007, Intelsat owns and operates a fleet of 51 communications satellites. in June 2007 BC Partners announced they had acquired 76 percent of Intelsat for about 3.75 billion euros.
HistoryThe Inter-Governmental Organization (IGO) began on August 20, 1964, with 11 participating countries. On April 6 1965, Intelsat’s first satellite, the Intelsat I (nicknamed Early Bird), was placed in geostationary orbit above the Atlantic Ocean by a Delta D rocket. Due to heavy lobbying by PanAmSat, a US satellite operator, the US congress passed the Open Market Reorganization for the Betterment of International Telecommunications (ORBIT) Act in order to privatize the international organization. In order to appease the US government Intelsat's senior management, in April 1998, spun-off five of its older satellites to a private Dutch entity, New Skies Satellites, which soon became a direct competitor to INTELSAT. In order to avert the US government's interference with Intelsat, Intelsat's senior management unsuccessfully considered relocating the IGO to another country.
On July 18 2001, Intelsat became a private company, 37 years after being formed. In the period prior to Intelsat's privatization in 2001, ownership and investment in INTELSAT (measured in shares) was distributed among INTELSAT members according to their respective use of services. Investment shares determined each member’s percentage of the total contribution needed to finance capital expenditures. The organization’s primary source of revenue came from satellite usage fees which, after deduction of operating costs, was redistributed to INTELSAT members in proportion to their shares as repayment of capital and compensation for use of capital. Satellite services were available to any organization (both INTELSAT members and non-members), and all users paid the same rates.
Intelsat was sold for U.S. $3.1bn in January 2005 to four private equity firms: Madison Dearborn Partners, Apax Partners, Permira and Apollo Management. The company acquired PanAmSat on July 3, 2006, and is now the world's largest provider of fixed satellite services, operating a fleet of 52 satellites in prime orbital locations. Intelsat maintains its corporate headquarters in Bermuda, with a majority of staff and satellite functions — administrative headquarters — located at the Intelsat Corporation offices in Washington, DC. A highly international business, Intelsat sources the majority of its revenue from non-U.S. located customers.
Spacecraft operations are controlled through ground stations in Clarksburg, Maryland (USA), Hagerstown, Maryland (USA), Riverside, California (USA), and Fuchsstadt, Germany.
Intelsat was operating Intelsat Americas-7 (known formerly as Telstar 7 and now known as Galaxy 27) which experienced a several-day power failure on 29 November 2004. The satellite returned to service with reduced capacity.
RenamingOn February 1, 2007, Intelsat changed the names of 16 of its satellites formerly known under the Intelsat Americas and PanAmSat brands to Galaxy and Intelsat, respectively.
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