ORBCOMM is a company which owns a network of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. They offer global communication services to anybody willing to put down the cash to access the network.

Last time I counted they had thirty-something satellites in the sky, which provided nearly seamless communication with the occassional loss of connectivity. The coverage now depends more on the number of (very expensive) Gateway Earth Stations than the number of satellites in the sky.

The Gateway Earth Stations act as bouncing points which the satellites use to communicate with each other. This, in effect, creates a global data network in the sky.

In the past the company has almost gone under twice. Both times being saved by brave investors. The last time someone finally had the bright idea to put business people in charge, rather than satellite geeks. Things seem to be picking up a bit more now.