MCLEAN, Va., March 4, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) today announced that Thales Alenia Space has delivered two complete high-fidelity satellite simulators and a number of low-fidelity simulators to Iridium launch partner SpaceX. The simulators, representing satellite flight units, are the exact volume, have the same mechanical interface and mass properties of actual satellites, and will be used in a variety of launch tests.
"With the support of our partners, Thales Alenia Space and SpaceX, we continue to make steady progress towards the launch of Iridium NEXT and are working to ensure our production satellites are fully operational on day one in space," stated Scott Smith, chief operating officer, Iridium. "We are working hand-in-glove with our mission team to ensure the launches are flawless. After years of hard work and planning, it is exciting to see the Iridium NEXT program coming together."
In total, 10 satellite simulators have been constructed, each about the size of a four-seat Cessna airplane. They will be used in numerous tests by launch partners Kosmotras, which will launch the first two satellites via its Dnepr rocket, and SpaceX, which will launch the remaining satellites via its Falcon9 rocket. Iridium is SpaceX's largest commercial customer, and, with an investment of $453.1 million, the Iridium deal represents the largest single commercial launch contract in history.
Iridium works closely with its launch partners to ensure the highest levels of quality and accuracy are met as the satellite design is locked down before production. The upcoming tests include structural and mechanical tests to ensure structural integrity and functionality, vibration testing for durability, and deployment testing to ensure the satellites release from the satellite dispenser appropriately when in space.
The Iridium NEXT satellite network will offer improved bandwidth, improved data speeds and the global coverage Iridium is known for. It will serve as a platform for the company's newly announced Iridium PRIMESM offering, a turnkey solution for hosted payloads which will offer all elements of a successful hosted payload mission, at an estimated cost savings of 50 percent or more compared to current stand-alone solutions.
"We continue to break space industry records with Iridium," stated Jean-Loïc Galle, CEO, Thales Alenia Space. "Typically, we produce one or two simulators per satellite program, but due to the size of the Iridium NEXT constellation and rigorous testing built into this launch plan, it requires 10 simulators to ensure full testing with the launch platform."
Thales Alenia Space (www.thalesaleniaspace.com) is leading the design and construction of the satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation and the companies are working together to develop a Hosted Payload Controller for the Iridium PRIME bus to ensure independence and diversity of missions on Iridium PRIME satellites.
For more information on Iridium NEXT, go to www.iridium.com.
About Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium® is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. The company has a major development program underway for its next-generation network — Iridium NEXT. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.
Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company has based these statements on its current expectations and the information currently available to us. Forward-looking statements in this presentation include statements regarding the development of the Iridium NEXT constellation; expected Iridium NEXT project costs and deployment schedule; and the development of Iridium PRIME satellites. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words "anticipates," "may," "can," "believes," "expects," "projects," "intends," "likely," "will," "to be" and other expressions that are predictions or indicate future events, trends or prospects. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Iridium to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, uncertainties regarding overall Iridium NEXT development and costs, potential delays in the Iridium NEXT deployment, the development of and market for the Iridium PRIME hosted payloads and the company's ability to maintain the health, capacity and content of its satellite constellation, as well as general industry and economic conditions, and competitive, legal, governmental and technological factors. Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements include those factors listed under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("the SEC") on March 5, 2013, and the Company's Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2013, filed with the SEC on October 31, 2013, as well as other filings Iridium makes with the SEC from time to time. There is no assurance that Iridium's expectations will be realized. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if Iridium's underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Iridium's forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Iridium undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.
CONTACT: Press Contact: Diane Hockenberry Iridium Communications Inc. +1 (703) 287-7421 Diane.firstname.lastname@example.org
Source:Iridium Communications Inc.