Iridium Satellite LLC announced
that it predicts its constellation of satellites will retain mission functionality into the next decade, based on internal analyses of satellite and operational data, as well as an external study by an independent company.
Iridium contracted with The Aerospace Corporation
of El Segundo, Calif., to conduct the study, based on several years of actual on-orbit reliability data provided by Iridium. Incorporating assumptions of planned future software and operational improvements, the analysis indicated that the Iridium constellation would likely remain viable into the next decade.
"Based on our observations and The Aerospace Corporation's analysis, we are confident that the Iridium satellite constellation will deliver services to customers through mid-2010. The operational constellation is performing beautifully, and with the 14 in-orbit and ground spares we'll continue providing quality service for years to come," said Gino Picasso, Iridium Satellite CEO. "Iridium continues to drive toward its business plan objectives. Our solid financial backing, a growing government and industrial customer base, the Department of Defense contract and the anticipated life of the constellation communicate to the marketplace that Iridium Satellite is poised for continued growth and success.
Comprised of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites plus spares, the Iridium Satellite constellation delivers global voice and data services to industrial customers around the world who require communications to and from remote locations. In 2002, Iridium Satellite will launch additional spare satellites to ensure the system's long-term performance.