90 Percent of the Iridium Constellation Deployed; 63 Satellites Now In Orbit
WASHINGTON, April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A Proton rocket successfully carried
seven Iridium satellites into orbit early yesterday from the Baikonur
Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, marking Iridium LLC's thirteenth successful launch
in eleven months. Two more launches are needed to fully deploy the Iridium
constellation. Both launches, a Delta II and a Long March 2C/SD rocket, are
set for late April.
The seven satellites are part of Iridium LLC's 66-satellite wireless
personal telecommunications network designed to offer full global coverage and
a variety of communications services, including voice, data, fax and paging to
handheld subscriber equipment. These seven satellites join the 56 that are
already in orbit.
"The success of today's Proton launch means that in slightly more than a
week's time, 14 Iridium satellites have been sent into orbit on three rocket
launches -- one from Russia, one from China and one from the United States,"
said Iridium LLC Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edward F. Staiano.
"This truly international effort is paving the way for Iridium to become the
first global wireless telephone company when we begin commercial activation on
"We have 90 percent of the Iridium constellation in place and are just
weeks away from complete deployment," said Motorola Chief Executive Officer
Christopher Galvin. "We congratulate Krunichev Space Center for the important
role they have played in lifting 21 Iridium satellites into orbit on three
Proton launches during this intense launch campaign."
The Proton rocket lifted off the launch pad at 8:13:03 a.m. Baikonur time.
Satellite separation occurred approximately 88 minutes after liftoff. The
seven satellites will be maneuvered into their respective positions to become
part of the operational constellation.
Iridium LLC is developing a global wireless communications network that
will combine the worldwide reach of 66 low-earth-orbit satellites with
land-based wireless systems to enable subscribers to communicate using
handheld telephones and pagers virtually anywhere in the world. Iridium World
Communications, Ltd. (Nasdaq: IRIDF) is the public investment vehicle of
Iridium is a registered trademark and service mark of Iridium LLC.
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