Iridium Satellite today announced that its constellation of low-earth-orbit communication satellites has achieved a world record of more than 500 satellite-years of in-orbit performance.

Iridium’s constellation consists of 66 active satellites and 13 in-orbit spares, which Iridium can quickly activate in the event of any satellite outages. Iridium’s initial satellites launched in 1997-1998, and commenced worldwide service in 1998. Iridium placed seven additional spares into orbit in 2002 to ensure long-term uninterrupted service.

In the last two years, Iridium and its industry partners have implemented a number of operational enhancements that remove dependency on high-wear components, thus increasing the satellite lifespan. As a result, third party engineering analysis, supported by the continued excellent on-orbit performance of the satellites, indicates that the existing constellation is viable through 2014 without the need for any additional launches.

Dannie Stamp, chief of operations, Iridium Satellite, said, “This is a significant milestone, which no other satellite system has achieved. It is a testimony to the outstanding engineering in the original Iridium satellite designs, and the extraordinary work our industry partners have done to develop hardware and software improvements. This combined results in extended lifespans beyond original design expectations.”

The Boeing Company operates the satellite network under a long-term contract with Iridium Satellite.

Carmen Lloyd, chairman and CEO of Iridium Satellite LLC, said, “The robust design and reliable performance of the satellites are largely responsible for the rapid growth experienced by Iridium during the past two years. Our service providers, third-party integrators and customers have learned that Iridium is a dependable service providing global low-latency data and voice communications for users with the most demanding communication requirements.”

About Iridium Satellite

Iridium Satellite LLC ( is the only provider of truly global satellite voice and data solutions with complete coverage of the earth (including oceans, airways and Polar Regions). Iridium delivers essential communications services to and from remote areas where no other form of communication is available. Iridium makes this possible through its constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites. The company also has 13 spare satellites in-orbit. The Iridium service is ideally suited for industries such as maritime, aviation, government/military, emergency/humanitarian services, mining, forestry, oil and gas, and heavy construction. Iridium provides service to the U.S. Department of Defense, and sells equipment and services through 44 service providers. In addition, 28 value-added manufacturers build Iridium-based products, and 22 value-added resellers build and sell Iridium-based solutions.