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Iridium satellite system

Iridium satellite system

The Iridium satellite network includes three principal components which include the satellite network, the ground stations and the satellite phones and data units. Voice and data messages can be routed anywhere in the world by the Iridium network. Calls are relayed from the satellite phone or data unit on the ground to one of the Iridium satellites. It is then relayed from one satellite to another then down to an appropriate ground station. The call is then transferred to the public voice network or Internet when it reaches the recipient.

Reliability Above All®

Iridium’s crosslinked mesh architecture creates a web of coverage encompassing 100% of the planet from Low-Earth Orbit, providing low-latency, weather resilient services unlike any other satellite provider. No other network matches the reach, coverage, and reliability of Iridium.

Low-Earth Orbit

At only 780 kilometers from the Earth, Iridium’s LEO network means pole-to-pole coverage, shorter transmission paths, stronger signals, lower latency, and shorter registration time than with GEO satellites.

More than just a satellite company.

Iridium’s global constellation is supported by an extensive ground infrastructure that ensures the high reliability and capacity of the communications network through multiple layers of redundancy and back-up systems for all critical functions.

Interconnected by advanced fiber-optic and broadband satellite links, the Iridium ground infrastructure consists of the Satellite Network Operating Center (SNOC), Ground Stations, and Technical Support Center, which together provide terrestrial connections for mobile satellite voice and data; network command, control, and monitoring; and technical support.

Interconnected by advanced fiber-optic and broadband satellite links, the Iridium ground infrastructure provides:

  • Terrestrial connections for mobile satellite voice and data calls
  • Network command, control and monitoring, and
  • Technical support

The Satellite Network Operating Center (SNOC) is the nerve center of the Iridium space and ground network — providing 24/7 monitoring and control over all network elements, including satellites, ground sites, and interconnections. The SNOC team also:

  • Conducts trending and performance analyses to ensure Quality of Service (QoS) requirements are met
  • Produces daily and weekly mission planning and orbit determination reports, and
  • Delivers real time satellite and network engineering support


Iridium NEXT 




2007 - Iridium announced plans to develop Iridium NEXT constellation

2010 - Iridium and SpaceX signed Commercial Rocket Launch Deal

2010 - Iridium successfully solved financing questions

2011 - Iridium signed contract with ISC Kosmotras to launch Iridium NEXT

2011 - 2014 - Development and production of Iridium NEXT satellites

2012 - Start of the AireonSM on-board equipment placement program

2012 - Сritical analysis of the software project with Lockheed Martin

2013 - Critical analysis of the system with Thales Alenia Space

2014 - Critical analysis of the SpaceX satellite launch mission

2015- Preparations for the launch of Iridium NEXT

2017 - Start of Iridium NEXT launches

2019 - Completion of the deployment of Iridium NEXT


Iridium Next satellite construction 

  1. ireon equipment on board the satellite
  2. Solar panel wing
  3. Inter-satellite antennas, Ka-band
  4. Base Load Aerial - L-Range
  5. Feeder antenna, Ka-band


Characteristics of the Iridium NEXT satellite:

  • Wingspan:9.4 m
  • Weight:860 kg
  • Dimensions folded:3.1 m x 2.4 m x 1.5 m




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