The European Space Agency's low-orbit microsatellite messaging system (LLMS) was launched on July 10 from the Ba knour cosmodrome onboard a Zenit rocket alongside the Russian earth observation satellite "Resours-N4". The LLMS will provide a global commercial electronic messaging system named IRIS (Intercontinental Retrieval of Information via Satellite). Placed in an inclined polar orbit at an altitude of 850 km the satellite will be visible from any point on the globe at least twice a day. It will receive and transmit electronic messages, with subscribers needing only a small modem adapted for satellite reception. About the size of a laptop computer, these devices are relatively cheap.

Customers likely to be attracted by this type of service will include individuals travelling to isolated regions and by sea, who do not have access to terrestrial telecommunications or who...

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