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 Iridium Coverage Map

Iridium has the most reliable, truly global mobile voice and data satellite communications network available. The Iridium satellite-based, global wireless communications system has three components:  the satellite constellation, the ground network, and subscriber products and solutions, including phones, terminals and a wide range of third-party solutions that include Iridium technology as key components.

An independent study conducted in 2008 reported that “more than 99 percent of calls placed through Iridium handsets were successfully connected.



The Iridium constellation has more satellites than any other commercial constellation. The 66 Iridium satellites are in a near-polar orbit at an altitude of 485 miles (780 km). They fly in formation in six orbital planes, each comprising 11 satellites, evenly spaced around the planet. Each Iridium satellite completely circles the Earth once every 100 minutes, traveling at 16,832 miles per hour, traveling from horizon to horizon across the sky in about ten minutes.

When an Iridium customer places a call or sends data from a handset or terminal, that device connects to the Iridium satellite that happens to be overhead. The traffic is routed among Iridium satellites around the globe to reach the satellite above the Earth gateway, which downlinks the call and transfers it to the global public voice network or the Internet so that it reaches the recipient. Because the Iridium constellation comprises Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, voice delays are typically so minimal they are virtually unnoticeable.

Each Iridium satellite is cross-linked to four other satellites - two in the same orbital plane and one in each adjacent plane. These links create a dynamic network in space. Calls are routed among Iridium satellites without touching the ground, creating a reliable connection. Iridium's satellites are virtually impervious to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes, that can damage ground-based wireless towers and terrestrial wires.

Iridium is the only connection available to many parts of the world. Even in urban and suburban environments, Iridium data solutions increasingly provide reliable backup for business communications transmissions.


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