Iridium Satellite will announce the Iridium NEXT initiative at the SATELLITE 2007 Show in Washington next week.
Iridium NEXT start of an intensive, multi- year design and development program for Iridium's next generation satellite constellation. Iridium's Satellite based global phone system is the only one around and it looks like they are doing well and adding more and more customers.
The Iridium Satellite network was launched in 1998 and filed for bankruptcy in 1999. Before the satellites had to be de-orbited Iridium Satellite LLC picked them up in 2001 and offers global satellite based calling since then.
The new Iridium NEXT is planned 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. US$2 billion are estimated to construct and deploy the new network. Iridium seeks partners to share this huge investment.
They also need to badly work on their handsets (photo). These large antennas have to go.
The current Iridium constellation consists of 66 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.
More details in this Iridium press-release.
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