Iridium Takes First Step in Development of NEXT Satellite Communications

Iridium(R) Satellite announces it has released a Request for Information (RFI) to potential partners interested in participating in the design, development and deployment of “Iridium NEXT,” the company’s next-generation satellite communications network. The Iridium RFI is the company’s first official step toward the procurement of the NEXT system.

Today’s Iridium constellation provides the only mobile satellite communications service covering the entire earth, with no service gaps, supplying voice and data communications for a wide range of users worldwide. With the RFI, Iridium is initiating its plan to design, develop, construct, deploy and operate its next-generation Iridium system, allowing the company to add new, enhanced services and to ensure that customers continue to enjoy the same level of high-reliability service provided today.

NEXT will maintain Iridium’s unique “life line” attributes which so many of the company’s customers count on – pole-to-pole coverage, security, availability and reliability. NEXT will also provide extended services beyond those offered today, from high-bandwidth data transmission to enhanced voice and short messaging services for commercial and government users. In addition, Iridium will engineer NEXT to support innovative space-based applications.

“We have formed a core internal team of industry experts, augmented by external consulting partners, to evaluate the key technical issues related to Iridium NEXT,” said Joe Pizzicaroli, vice president and chief satellite operations officer, Iridium. “We are nearing completion of our initial technical analysis and are ready to engage the aerospace industry to help Iridium design, build, launch and operate the new constellation.”

Iridium will use the RFI process to interact with leading industry suppliers of satellite communications products and services. Iridium plans to explore a variety of functions and technologies essential to the deployment of the NEXT network, including low-earth-orbiting (LEO) satellite manufacturing and deployment capabilities, state-of-the-art communications systems, IP networking, core service platforms/applications, and other important developments such as inter-satellite links and space navigation systems.

“Releasing an RFI is an important step in the design and procurement of NEXT,” said Don Thoma, executive vice president, Iridium. “We are looking for the most innovative and experienced companies in the industry to help us with our deployment.”

The RFI process will lead to supplier partner selections in 2008 and 2009. For more information about responding to the RFI, please contact

About Iridium Satellite
Iridium Satellite LLC 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 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. DoD. The company also designs, builds and sells its services, products and solutions through a worldwide network of more than 150 partners.