Iridium(R) Announces First Development Partners for 'NEXT'

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Iridium(R) Satellite has contracted with seven key partners in the beginning phase of designing and developing its "Iridium NEXT" satellite constellation. These first partners -- Avaliant, Boeing, General...


BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Iridium(R) Satellite has contracted with seven key partners in the beginning phase of designing and developing its "Iridium NEXT" satellite constellation. These first partners -- Avaliant, Boeing, General Dynamics, KinetX, MicroSat Systems, Inc. (MSI) and Trident Sensors -- will work with Iridium on systems engineering, requirements definition and architecture development.

"We are excited by the amount of enthusiasm we've seen building around NEXT from our partners and potential associates," said Matt Desch , chairman and CEO, Iridium. "These companies represent some of the most innovative and experienced in the industry. We look forward to working with them and many others as we design, build and launch our next-generation constellation."

Iridium launched the NEXT initiative earlier this year and, when deployed, NEXT will offer significantly enhanced services to the company's current and new customers. Iridium will deploy NEXT on a schedule supporting a smooth transition from the current constellation.

While laying the foundation for the future, Iridium continues to introduce important enhancements to its current constellation with initiatives to offer higher-speed services, as well as new opportunities for data services and embedded systems.

In addition to network equipment sustainment and system upgrades, Iridium has been investing in new infrastructure to add features and to build in redundancy, including new ground stations in Fairbanks, Alaska and Svalbard, Norway .

About NEXT

Today's Iridium constellation provides the only mobile satellite service covering the entire earth, with no service gaps, providing voice and data communications for a wide range of users worldwide. NEXT will maintain Iridium's unique "life line" attributes which so many Iridium customers count on -- pole-to-pole coverage, security, availability and reliability.

Through NEXT, Iridium plans to offer a flexible array of services, from high-bandwidth data to voice and short messaging services, enabling new applications for commercial and government users. NEXT will feature an IP- based architecture. This will leverage broad-based technology enhancements from the industry, enable customers to integrate applications efficiently into NEXT, and ensure upgrading flexibility. Iridium will also engineer the network to support communications with other space-based assets. Finally, NEXT will maintain the company's unique and all-important cross-linked satellite architecture.

Last month, Iridium released a NEXT Request for Information (RFI) to additional potential partners interested in participating in the design, development and deployment of the network. In addition to its seven new partners, Iridium has formed its core internal team of industry experts to evaluate key technical issues related to NEXT. The RFI signaled that Iridium has made sufficient progress in its initial NEXT architecture definition efforts and that the company is now ready to begin engaging the aerospace industry for help in designing, building, launching and operating the new constellation.

About Iridium Satellite

Iridium Satellite LLC (www.iridium.com) is the only provider of truly global satellite voice and data solutions with complete coverage of the earth (including oceans, airways and Polar Regions). Iridium delivers essential communications services to and from remote areas where no other form of communication is available. The Iridium constellation consists of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites and has multiple in-orbit spares. The constellation operates as a fully meshed network and is the largest commercial satellite constellation in the world. The Iridium service is ideally suited for industries such as maritime, aviation, government/military, emergency/humanitarian services, mining, forestry, oil and gas, heavy equipment, transportation and utilities. Iridium provides service to the U.S. Department of Defense. The company also designs, builds and sells its services, products and solutions through a worldwide network of more than 150 partners.

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