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INTELSAT (an acronym for INternational TELecommunications SATellite Organization) was formed in 1964 under a multilateral agreement, and, following two international agreements in 1973, the Intelsat Agreement and the Intelsat Operating Agreement. It owns, maintains, and operates the global satellite system used by over 100 participating countries around the world. COMSAT is the U.S. representative to and participant in INTELSAT.

The Intelsat Agreement states that:

The purpose of Intelsat is to continue the development of the telecommunications satellite system with the view of achieving a single global commercial telecommunications satellite system as part of an improved global telecommunications network.