Sunday, March 8, 2009

Iridium Replaces Satellite Lost in Collision

Iridium completed the replacement of the operational Iridium satellite lost in the collision in February with a non-operational Russian satellite. The unique architecture of Iridium's fully-meshed network of 66 satellites enabled the continuity of service to Iridium's customers while one of Iridium's in-orbit spares was prepared and maneuvered into the

constellation. Iridium also said the satellite collision demonstrated the need to improve assessment and warning of potential hazards for satellites. Some specific future activities that Iridium endorses include:

  • Long-term investment to improve Space Situational Awareness (SSA) so
    that the space environment can be better understood and characterized. Adding SSA sensors to government and commercial satellites may offer a cost effective way of improving the timeliness and accuracy of SSA data.

  • Improved information sharing between industry and the U.S. government, with the objective of improving the timeliness and accuracy of conjunction assessment and warning. Iridium believes provision of satellite orbital data by commercial operators would relieve the U.S. Air Force of the necessity to devote resources to tracking the company's satellites, and could provide accuracy greater than would otherwise be commonly available.

  • Government support for policy and processes which would permit sharing of classified data as required to allow for high-accuracy assessment and warning.

  • Funding and resources to support analysis, assessment, dissemination and warning on timelines and with accuracies that enable action to be taken to avoid collisions.

  • Continued support for increased cooperation between the government, and U.S. and foreign commercial operators.