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Iridium service was launched on Nov. 1, 1998 with major financial backing by Motorola. The first Iridium call was made by Al Gore, then the current Vice President.
Iridium went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy nine months later on Aug 13, 1999. Cost of the service was extremely out of reach for many users. The first generation Motorola 9500 satellite phone was bulky and expensive when compared with cellular phones. Mismanagement was also a factor in the original company’s failure. The initial failure of Iridium put pressure on other proposed satellite projects like Globalstar following Iridium into bankruptcy protection.
December 2000 a group of private investors led by Dan Colussy acquired the operating assets of the bankrupt Iridium Company. Although the assets were to have a cost of $6 billion the investment group purchased the firm for only $25 million.