Launch of Global Phone Satellites Delayed

Times Staff and Wire Reports

A technical problem delayed the launch of a global communications venture's satellites that will make phoning from anywhere to anywhere as easy as making a cellular phone call across town. Problems with tracking equipment forced postponement until today of the Delta rocket launch of three satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base, an Air Force spokesman said. The satellites are to be the first of 66 in the nearly $5-billion Motorola Inc.-led Iridium project, which aims to operate a global phone service by the end of 1998. Iridium is one of the most ambitious of nearly $25 billion in planned commercial satellite programs.

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