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 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.

About Avaliant

Avaliant (www.avaliant.com) is primarily a system engineering, system architecture and system design company with an emphasis on mobile and satellite communications and network systems. To effectively accomplish its system engineering objectives, Avaliant has established strong software development, modeling and simulation capabilities. Avaliant utilizes software packages such as OPNET, MATLAB, STK (Satellite Tool Kit), and Excel. The company often integrates and extends the capabilities of these packages using multiple scripting languages and C/C++.

About Boeing

Boeing (www.boeing.com) is the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. Additionally, Boeing designs and manufactures rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. As a major service provider to NASA, Boeing operates the Space Shuttle and International Space Station. The company also provides numerous military and commercial airline support services. Boeing has customers in more than 90 countries around the world and is one of the largest U.S. exporters in terms of sales.

About General Dynamics

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems designs, develops, manufactures, integrates, operates and maintains mission systems for defense, space, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, homeland security and homeland defense customers. Headquartered in Fairfax, Va., the company specializes in ground systems; imagery processing; mission payloads; space vehicles; maritime subsurface, surface and airborne mission systems; and tasking, collection, processing, exploitation and dissemination programs for national intelligence. More information is available on the Internet at www.gd-ais.com.

About KinetX

KinetX, Inc. (www.kinetx.com) is an innovative engineering, technology, software development and business consulting firm providing complete systems solutions. Specializing in aerospace systems, the company's engineers have an established track record of applying and integrating systems engineering, space navigation, modeling and simulation, and business applications that operate on the forefront of technology. With a well-earned reputation for efficient problem solving, KinetX has consistently increased client revenue, reduced costs, and accelerated timelines. KinetX, Inc., a privately held company, has achieved significant growth and recognition in the engineering marketplace. KinetX has maintained an aggressively planned annual growth rate, based on the strategy that it continues to provide engineering technology while pursuing product solutions that leverage existing expertise.

About MicroSat Systems, Inc.

MSI (www.microsatsystems.com) offers high-performance microsatellites and spacecraft subsystems, including space power systems, advanced miniaturized avionics and lightweight composite structures, to government and commercial customers. MSI is currently building the Demonstration and Science Experiment (DSX) spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force and is also developing advanced spacecraft subsystems in thin-film solar arrays, plug and play avionics, and lightweight structures.

About Trident Sensors

Trident Sensors' core business is to provide systems and services for marine and oceanographic data communications, including live tracking (www.tridentsensors.com). A major motivation is to support the investigation of global climate change. Trident pursues this end by supplying instrumentation to researchers in the field, including those working on the Arctic and Antarctic oceans and ice fields. Also, Trident is investigating with Iridium the potential of the NEXT constellation for Earth observation sensor payloads focused on ocean-atmosphere processes. Trident is a value- added manufacturer for Iridium.

SOURCE Iridium Satellite



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