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Discovering IRIDIUM's LEO Network with Matt Desch

Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium Communications, will participate to the next edition of Space Forum and will share his expertise and knowledge during the “Open Access to Space” session, on September 15th. Today, he tells us more about the mission of Iridium and explains how it plans on to redefine satellite communications.

How would you describe the mission of Iridium Communications?

Iridium is the world's only truly global mobile satellite communications company that connects everyone to the things that matter most, from pole to pole. Offering voice and data connectivity through a constellation of 66 crosslinked Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, Iridium’s mission is to connect people, organizations, and assets to and from anywhere in real time. With communications solutions ranging from satellite phones to the fastest L-band broadband, Iridium offers solutions for maritime, aviation, government, land, the internet of things (IoT) and more.

How exactly do you plan to redefine satellite communications?

Iridium redefines mobile satellite communications through a unique set of services. Powered by a new, $3 billion dollar constellation, Iridium Certus® is the first truly global advanced multi-service platform that extends the reach of terrestrial and cellular infrastructure with the fastest speeds in L-band. The service redefines the capabilities of mobile satellite communications across maritime, IoT, aviation, land mobile, and government applications. In the maritime industry, Iridium® GMDSS is making critical safety services available anywhere on the globe for the first time ever. With Iridium CloudConnect, Iridium is enabling the first and only satellite cloud-based solution with truly global coverage for IoT applications through Amazon Web Services (AWS). Iridium Global Line of Sight℠ is another unique service that allows companies, organizations, and governments to stay connected to their remotely-piloted vehicles in the air, on land, and at sea. Additionally, the Iridium partner ecosystem with over 450 industry-leading companies around the world creates hundreds of Iridium Connected® solutions based on their expertise, market insights, and drive to innovate, continually expanding Iridium’s market reach.

Can you give us more information on the Iridium Constellation? What are the next steps?

In one of the most significant commercial space ventures ever, Iridium replaced its original constellation by sending 75 new Iridium satellites into orbit on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets over eight different launches, concluding the campaign known as Iridium NEXT in January 2019. The Iridium constellation consists of 66 second-generation LEO satellites and 9 in-orbit spares. Iridium satellites are cross-linked in space, creating a web of coverage encompassing 100% of the planet. Operating in Low-Earth Orbit, the constellation provides low-latency, weather-resilient services and is able to connect to small form-factor and low cost antennas. At only 780 kilometers above the Earth, Iridium’s LEO network enables pole-to-pole coverage, with shorter transmission paths, stronger signals, and lower latency than GEO satellites. The new network is working well and will not need to be replenished for at least 10 years.