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Appendix I. Orion Satellite Corporation

Appendix I. Orion Satellite Corporation

In 1982, it was apparent that the cost of moving television and voice signals (data was still largely something yet to unfold) across an ocean via satellite was roughly ten times higher than in the domestic United States. It was, after all, the same technology at work. The only difference was that the transoceanic international satellite technology being used belonged to Intelsat, the cartel situated in Washington and accessed through Comsat. On March 11, 1983, Orion filed its application at the FCC on a day when all of the Intelsat board of directors members were in the air heading for a lavish meeting in Australia. Before they could organize a summary rejection by the FCC, the application was “accepted for filing,” and the legal battle was joined. The original team consisted of the author plus Christopher Vizas and Thomas Keller—three law-educated friends who met at The White House Office of Telecommunications Policy, and a typewriter (this remark was one made by the director general of Intelsat when he was trying to defeat us). Financial backing came from Denver and the charge was led by John Saeman, Gus Hauser, and Steve Halstedt. On September 15, 1985, the FCC made its preliminary decision that ultimately led to nearly full authority for us and our “me-too” competitor, PanAmSat, to operate our satellites. The company proceeded to design, build, launch, and operate its satellites and its services are available today from the Mississippi to Moscow. John Puente, the seasoned veteran from Macom, arrived and managed the financing and launch and later retired. We went public in 1995 and soon thereafter we were acquired by Loral. Again, a special thanks to Ward L. Quaal, a truly great American, and of course our president, Ronald Reagan. Thank you again, Mr. President.


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