Iridium Adds to Constellation Resilience with Launch of Spare Satellites

MCLEAN, Va., May 20, 2023 /CNW/ — Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) announced today a key milestone in its long-term constellation resilience and redundancy planning, with the successful launch and deployment of five spare satellites.  This launch brings the total number of spare Iridium® satellites on orbit to 14.  In total, 81 next-generation Iridium satellites were built, and 80 of them have now been deployed. The Iridium constellation remains unique in the industry, featuring 66 operational crosslinked satellites, enabling truly global, weather-resilient connectivity everywhere on Earth.

The satellites lifted off at 06:16 am PDT (13:16 UTC) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base (VSFB) in California. Shortly after deployment, each of the satellites successfully contacted engineers at Iridium’s Satellite Network Operations Center (SNOC), in Virginia. 

“The completion of our upgraded constellation was a major milestone in the history of Iridium.  We committed to our partners and our customers that they could depend on us and expect the highest quality of service and reliability anywhere on the planet, and that’s what we’ve delivered,” said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. “With all the new products and services enabled by our network, the launch of these spares shows our commitment to maintaining the gold standard of satellite network services.”

Completed in February 2019, the upgraded Iridium constellation has proven to be an engine of innovation for the company and its partners. Recently, the company took a lead role in the burgeoning satellite direct-to-device movement, teaming up with Qualcomm Technologies Inc., to enable satellite SOS and two-way messaging in premium Android smartphones.

The Iridium Certus® service, launched in 2019, established a new standard for weather-resilient broadband connectivity with services and equipment that scale in size, weight and power requirements based on the needs of the end-user.  It has proven to be ideal for ships, vehicles, aircraft, and particularly UAVs, USVs and other uncrewed autonomous systems. 

Maritime safety has been enhanced with Iridium’s Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), and pilots all over the world depend on safety and cockpit solutions installed in their aircraft.

In all, Iridium and its partners have certified more than 175 new, purpose-built products for aviation, maritime, land-mobile, IoT and related industries over the past 4 years.

The new satellites launched today will help ensure Iridium’s critical services continue well into the next decade, supporting many millions of end users.

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About Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium® is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. In 2019, the company completed a generational upgrade of its satellite network and launched its new specialty broadband service, Iridium Certus. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding the longevity of its constellation and services.  Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words “anticipates,” “may,” “can,” “believes,” “expects,” “projects,” “intends,” “likely,” “will,” “to be” and other expressions that are predictions or indicate future events, trends or prospects. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Iridium to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, uncertainties regarding Iridium’s ability to maintain the health, capacity and content of its satellite constellation, as well as general industry and economic conditions, and competitive, legal, governmental and technological factors. Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements include those factors listed under the caption “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2022, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) on February 16, 2023, as well as other filings Iridium makes with the SEC from time to time.  There is no assurance that Iridium’s expectations will be realized. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if Iridium’s underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Iridium’s forward-looking statements are based on information available to it as of the date of this press release and speak only as of the date of this press release, and Iridium undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.

Press Contact:

Jordan Hassin

Iridium Communications Inc. 

+1 (703) 287-7421

Twitter: @Iridiumcomm

Investor Contact:

Kenneth Levy

Iridium Communications Inc.

+1 (703) 287-7570


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SOURCE Iridium Communications Inc.

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