MCLEAN, Va., June 1, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) today announced it has completed the first satellite payload-to-bus integration on an Iridium NEXT satellite. This successful mating of the communication payload and the Aireon℠ hosted payload to the platform is yet another critical milestone achieved in the production process, bringing the overall constellation one step closer to launch.
Each of the 66 satellites planned for use in the Iridium NEXT constellation is being built at the Orbital facility in Gilbert, Arizona, in addition to a number of in-orbit and ground spares. This satellite will be shipped to the Thales Alenia Space facility in Cannes, France where it will undergo qualification testing to ensure robustness of design. All Iridium NEXT satellites will include the Aireon hosted payload, which will enable the first truly global aircraft tracking and surveillance capability, extending ADS-B coverage and benefits to every flight path across the planet.
"This milestone moves us forward toward full completion and testing of a fully integrated satellite, and we're very excited," said Scott Smith, chief operating officer, Iridium Communications Inc. "The assembly line is working well, and we're on track with production timing. We are full speed ahead with the build, and that much closer to our first launch scheduled for later this year."
The program is progressing in all areas of production and testing, and Iridium expects to announce multiple milestones in the near future including completion of the first flight dispenser for the SpaceX launch; full-power antenna testing; cross-links testing; mating the payload fairing to the space head module for the initial satellite launch; and Aireon testing and systems update, among others.
The Iridium NEXT constellation is scheduled to begin launching in 2015 and to be completed in late 2017. When fully operational, Iridium NEXT will offer greater bandwidth and data speeds, dramatically enhancing Iridium's ability to meet the rapidly-expanding demand for truly global mobile communications on land, at sea and in the skies.
Iridium NEXT will also serve as a platform for the company's Iridium PRIME℠ 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 standalone solutions. In addition, the Iridium NEXT network will enable the recently announced Iridium Certus℠ broadband service, which will deliver versatile, enterprise-grade, reliable communications and support a portfolio of partner products with a broad range of data speeds eventually as high as 1.4 megabits per second for a single user terminal.
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. Iridium 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 and capabilities of the Iridium NEXT constellation, including the expected Iridium NEXT deployment and launch schedule; and the development and capabilities of Aireon, Iridium PRIME and Iridium Certus. 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 Iridium NEXT development and functionality, potential delays in Iridium NEXT deployment or the development of Aireon, Iridium PRIME and Iridium Certus, and Iridium's ability to maintain the health, capacity and content of its current 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, 2014, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("the SEC") on February 26, 2015, 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.