The competition heats up: It appears that SpaceX and Orbcomm have finalized their launch agreement.
On December 21, 2012, ORBCOMM Inc. (Nasdaq: ORBC) and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) entered into a Launch Services Agreement pursuant to which SpaceX will provide launch services for the carriage into low-Earth-orbit of up to 18 ORBCOMM second-generation commercial communications satellites currently being constructed by Sierra Nevada Corporation.
The agreement schedules the launches for sometime between the second quarter of 2013 and the second quarter of 2014, subject to normal scheduling changes.
This is a strong endorsement by Orbcomm of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, despite the engine problem which prevented an Orbcomm prototype satellite from reaching its correct orbit on the last Falcon 9 launch. Also, note that Sierra Nevada is building the satellites, thereby giving that company a firm foundations while it also builds its Dream Chaser manned spacecraft.