Acquisition brings together Ashtec, Magellan

Orbital Sciences Corp. strengthened its position in the Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver industry through an agreement to acquire and merge Ashtec Inc. with Orbital's Magellan Corp. subsidiary creating a $125 million satellite receiver company. Magellan which introduced the first handheld GPS receiver in 1989 with a cost of more than $3 000 has pioneered development of low-cost handhelds and now markets a model with a list price as low as $99.

Magellan also manufactures satellite communications receivers including a handheld unit that features a built-in GPS receiver designed for use with Orbital's fleet of low-data-rate communication satellites slated to provide worldwide service in 1998. The privately held Ashtec has concentrated on the higher end of the GPS market and supplies the reference receivers used in the base stations of the nationwide Differential GPS network operated by the Coast Guard.

Ashtec also supplies high-resolution systems capable of measurements in the millimeter range to a number of federally backed projects designed to predict earthquakes by monitoring of tectonic plate movements. Orbital intends to fold Ashtec into Magellan to create a GPS and satellite receiver powerhouse.

David Thompson Oribital's chairman said the merger will result in "the world's foremost satellite access products technology business offering advanced GPS positioning navigation and timing solutions as well as the latest satellite telephony and data communications products."

Former Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell Jr. who serves on the Ashtec board said "The merger is great for GPS and all who use that technology." Charles Trimble chairman of Trimble Navigation Ltd. the leading company in the GPS receiver market said the Magellan/Ashtec merger confirmed his belief that "consolidation in the GPS industry is inevitable.... When completed the combination of these two companies should create a strong No. 2 competitor in the GPS industry further increasing the pressure on the niche players."

Featured

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

  • Cloud
    cloud migration

    DHS cloud push comes with complications

    A pressing data center closure schedule and an ensuing scramble to move applications means that some Homeland Security components might need more than one hop to get to the cloud.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.