The Globalstar constellation is made up of 40 low earth orbiting (LEO) satellites which are simple repeaters or mirrors in the sky. Globalstar calls this “bent pipe” technology. Voice and data transmissions from a Globalstar satellite phone will go up to one of the 40 satellites in the Globalstar constellation where it is simply bounced back down to one of the closest Globalstar ground stations to the user and then it is switched to the public telephone system or the Internet. Calls from Globalstar phone to Globalstar phone that are serviced by the same ground station are handled completely by the ground station and the public phone network is never accessed.
The Globalstar ground stations have three to four dish antennas, a switch station and remote operating controls. Because the switches and complex hardware is on the ground it makes it easier to upgrade and maintain the Globalstar.
If the public phone network in the area of a Globalstar ground station is disrupted Globalstar phone to Globalstar phone calls made in the area serviced by the same ground station are handled completely by that ground station. If the public phone network is disrupted in the area of the Globalstar ground station Globalstar can switch over to their dedicated T1 line that can give access to all the other Globalstar gateways in the network. In that situation a satellite call received by the Globalstar ground station in Sebring, FL can be sent to another Globalstar phone serviced by a Globalstar ground station in Canada. If the public telephone network is completely disrupted calls could be made from Globalstar phone to Globalstar phone even if they are not being serviced by the same ground station or gateway.
Also if the Sebring, FL ground station is disrupted then either the Clifton, TX or Canadian gateways would be able to service the area.