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The Iridium satellite constellation is made up of 66 satellites with spares. The Iridium satellite network provides total worldwide voice and data communications using handheld and fixed site satellite phones. The Iridium satellite network is the only satellite network offering complete coverage of the whole earth including the poles and oceans.
The name Iridium comes from a chemical element by the same name. The original plan for the constellation was to have 77 satellites which are equal to the atomic number for the chemical Iridium.
Iridium is based in Bethesda, Maryland and is a privately held company. Iridium provides reliable, secure, mission critical satellite communications to and from any landline when cellular service is disrupted or not available.
Iridium constellation of 66 LEO satellites is the largest commercial satellite constellation in the world. The satellite constellation is cross-linked networked to be fully meshed leaving no gaps in service.
The Iridium satellite service provides communications to industries including aviation, government, military, emergency services, maritime, forestry, mining, oil and utilities. Among Iridium's largest customers is the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) as well as civil and government agencies. Iridium is partnered with over 150 partners designing, building and selling its products and services around the world.
Iridium has operations in Tempe, Arizona and Leesburg, Virginia as well as a gateway in Hawaii; the U. S. DOD utilizes these for worldwide communications.
Iridium provides both voice and short burst data (SBD) satellite services. Voice services are provided by using handheld satellite phones as well as a variety of fixed and mobile satellite phones. Iridium's 9601 SBD transceiver provides data connections worldwide transferring email, weather, location information or any data requiring a two way connection.
Iridium has been a profitable company since 2004, growing at a very impressive rate due to increasing demand for reliable satellite communication worldwide. New customers and new partners have been constantly growing as they see the value of a worldwide satellite network that is reliable and guaranteed to work.
Iridium is also planning for the future by launching a plan called the NEXT initiative. This will be a new satellite constellation which will be fully operational by 2016.
Iridium is dedicated to provide mission critical satellite communications in more places than any other satellite communications provider worldwide. Iridium offers unique satellite communication covering every inch of the planet, connecting customers from anywhere to virtually everywhere in the world.
Iridium's current constellation should provide consistent service through 2014. They are planning what is called Iridium NEXT which will be their second generation replacement constellation of satellites. They plan to start launching these new satellites in 2013 to provide service through 2030. The Iridium NEXT will provide new capabilities including higher bandwidth as well as new devices and technology.