Iridium Planning for NEXT

The April 13 issue of Forbes features an article on Dan Colussy’s fight to bring back from bankruptcy almost 10 years ago.  The article calls the original Iridium concept “daft”, but it does pay homage to the overall validity of the Iridium concept.  

Some of the interesting points of the article:

Vice-President Al Gore made the ceremonial first call in 1999

·  Nine months later Iridium filed for bankruptcy

·   The DOD agreed to pay $36 Million/year for five years for unlimited airtime on 20,000 phones

·   CEO Matt Desch joined Iridium in 2006 and has lead the development and financing of the NEXT constellation

This is a great story, AND the future looks pretty exciting:
GHL Acquisition Corp (GHQ), run by investment bank Greenhill & Co. (GHL) has agreed to take Iridium public, closing this year. (Note: East Coast Satellite Communications CEO Lou Altman owns GHQ)

·   Data users now produce almost as much revenue as voice callers and will soon produce more.

When launched in 2014, the new constellation will have the power to connect any spot on Earth at high speeds.  Iridium’s data connections can run at 128,000 bps, Iridium NEXT will run data at 10 mbs, or 78 times as fast.

·   plans to raise money by selling space on its satellites for modern imaging equipment, from scientific gear for measuring atmospheric chemistry and climate change to cameras that could help Google refresh its maps every few seconds

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