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Iridium - Next concept developmental phase

Iridium : 22 March, 2008  (Company News)
Iridium® Satellite has announced it has reached agreement with three companies to enter into the concept development phase in its design and development procurement process for 'NEXT,' the company's next-generation satellite constellation.
Over the next five months, Lockheed Martin, Space Systems Loral and Thales Alenia Space will develop design concepts, review critical engineering trades and evaluate performance and capabilities required for NEXT along with the costs to manufacture and launch the system.

Based on these findings, Iridium plans to select two candidates to undertake the detailed system development phase of the procurement process.

'We are pleased to have these major industry players as potential partners in our NEXT development,' said Lee Demitry, executive vice president, Iridium NEXT, Iridium Satellite. 'We would like to thank all the participants for their interest and their efforts in helping us make this first critical decision.'

'Industry response has been phenomenal,' stated Matt Desch, chairman and CEO, Iridium Satellite. 'We're one step closer to launching our new constellation along with exciting new services for our customers.'

This past summer, Iridium released a NEXT Request for Information (RFI) for design, development and deployment of the network and over 60 companies replied. From that RFI, six candidates were identified who have demonstrated the capabilities to meet the technical, operational and commercial requirements of NEXT. Of those six, Iridium narrowed the field to these three

Last year at Satellite '07, Iridium unveiled its plans for NEXT and continues to make significant strides with its timeline and goals for the program. The response from companies vying for a role as a prime contractor or a supplier for this critical initiative has been overwhelming and the support from existing and prospective customers, potential investors and the market at large has been extremely enthusiastic. Based on analysis, industry feedback and progress to date, Iridium expects the 2013 launch date to be very achievable.

Today's Iridium constellation is the only mobile satellite service (MSS) covering the entire Earth, with no service gaps, providing voice and data communications for a wide range of users worldwide. NEXT will maintain Iridium's unique 'lifeline' attributes which so many Iridium customers count on -- pole-to-pole coverage, security, availability and reliability.

Through NEXT, Iridium plans to offer a flexible array of services, from high-bandwidth data to voice and short messaging services, enabling new applications for commercial and government users. NEXT will feature an IP- based architecture. This will leverage broad-based technology enhancements from the industry, enable customers to integrate applications efficiently into NEXT, and ensure upgrading flexibility. Iridium will also engineer the network to support communications with other space-based assets. Finally, NEXT will maintain the company's unique and all-important cross-linked satellite architecture.

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