Monday, March 21, 2005

Iridium Satellite Plans Enhancements, Forecasts Availability through 2014

Iridium Satellite announced plans to deploy a group call push-to-talk voice and data service, enabling multi-user communication "nets" from Iridium mobile satphones from anywhere worldwide. It is designed for public and private sector first responders and ideal for crisis applications where rapid deployment, reliability and security are key. Users will require constant and global service from an extremely portable device.

The group call push-to-talk communications service will allow one user to talk (or transmit data) to many users simultaneously. Dispatch centers will be able to set up multi-user communication nets on Iridium satellite channels. The service will be scalable to meet user requirements. It will enable over- the-air group management where dispatch centers can add users to groups as needed. In addition, users will be able to access voice and data communications at the same time when immediate access to critical systems and information from any location is required. The new Iridium service will incorporate end-to-end encryption for secure communications.

Iridium Satellite is also planning to launch a 9600 data transceiver this year based on the company's Short Burst Data (SBD) technology. The 9600 data transceiver could be used for asset tracking, remote monitoring and telemetry reporting from remote locations worldwide. Examples include supply chain management, field force automation, and even maintenance repair and overhaul systems.

Iridium Satellite, which launched the first of its 66 low-Earth-orbit satellites in 1997-1998, announced that it now expects its in-orbit constellation to remain viable through 2014 without additional launches. Iridium placed seven additional spares into orbit in 2002 to ensure long-term uninterrupted service. The company cited a number of operational enhancements that remove dependency on high-wear components, thus increasing the satellite lifespan.

The Boeing Company operates the satellite network under a long-term contract with Iridium Satellite.


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