Iridium Satellite LLC and the Defense
Information Systems Agency (DISA) today detailed the critical role that
Iridium played in the recent rescue of Ronald S. Shemenski from the South
In a coordinated effort with the National Science Foundation (NSF), the
United States Air Force (USAF), Motorola and Iridium, four Iridium phones were
rushed to the rescue team to provide reliable communications for the hazardous

Shemenski, the doctor who had been caring for the 50 researchers and
others working at the Amudsen-Scott South Pole station, was diagnosed by
satellite as having a potentially life-threatening case of pancreatitis. With
the end of the flying season fast approaching and the onset of extreme weather
threatening both flight operations and communications, the NSF turned to the
USAF for assistance.

A twin-engine propeller plane was contracted to complete the mission,
flown by Kenn Borek Air Ltd., familiar with flight operations for the
Antarctic Programs.
While Kenn Borek Air uses HF radio, there was concern of
total radio blackouts on the polar cap, negating any communications equipment
In preparation for blackouts, Raytheon Polar Services, a NSF
support contractor, worked with Iridium, the DISA EMSS program office and
Motorola to obtain four Motorola Satellite Series 9505 phones, which are
specially manufactured for use with the Iridium satellite constellation, to
ensure reliable communications throughout this rescue mission.

“DISA is extremely pleased that we were able to assist in providing a
capability that proved to be a valuable tool in this successful mission,” said
DISA EMSS Program Manager LTC Christopher Braun, U.S. Army.

The phones were in place and ready to provide service at Rothera,
Antarctica, the in-field base camp, South Pole station; Raytheon Polar’s
Denver corporate headquarters, the 24X7 command watch center; and at the
McMurdo Station, the provider of air control and weather forecasting support.
The Iridium service was used extensively in communications with the South Pole
station, in the origin of the Antarctic flight leg and with the command
The aircraft also used Iridium for private communications with its
home office.

“Anytime we keep people connected in areas that do not have access to
cellular service or other communications equipment, we’ve succeeded.
In this
case, Iridium was able to play a role in boosting rescue workers confidence
and saving lives by providing essential communications services,” said Gino
Picasso, CEO of Iridium Satellite LLC.
“Iridium’s coverage is more extensive
than any other satellite system available, allowing us to keep people
connected in time of danger, rescue missions or simply in touch with the home
We are proud to be the company to fill the missing link that helps us
all stay connected no matter how far we travel.”

About Iridium Satellite LLC

Iridium Satellite LLC is the only provider of truly global mobile
satellite voice and data solutions with complete coverage of the Earth
(including oceans, airways and Polar Regions). Through a constellation of 66
low-earth orbiting (LEO) satellites operated by The Boeing Company, Iridium
delivers essential communications services to and from remote areas where no
other form of communication is available. The service is ideally suited for
industrial applications such as heavy construction, defense/military,
emergency services, maritime, mining, forestry, oil & gas and aviation.
Iridium currently provides service to the U.S. Department of Defense under a
multi-year contract.
Commercial service, sold through a network of 14 service
providers, was launched on March 30, 2001. For more information, please visit or call 866-947-4348 (in the U.S.); 480-752-5155