L-3 Telemetry-West Gear Picked for Iridium Next

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L-3 Telemetry-West of San Diego will supply Thales Alenia Space with command decryption units for the 81 Iridium Next mobile communications satellites Thales Alenia Space is building for McLean, Va.-based Iridium Communications.

L-3 Telemetry-West did not disclose the value of the contract but said in a May 7 press release that it will supply multiple decryption units that will be installed on the Iridium Next satellites to decrypt command signals from the ground.

“We have been pursuing this application since 2009 when initial plans for the new constellation were beginning to take shape,” Larry Dobbs, director of business development for L-3 Telemetry-West’s Space Systems group, said in a statement. “We are very pleased to be part of the Iridium Next program providing a key Information Assurance product role.”

Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy was selected in June 2010 to build Iridium’s second-generation constellation of low-orbiting voice and data communications satellites. The $2.1 billion contract calls for Thales Alenia to build 66 low Earth orbit satellites connected by crosslinks and an additional six in-orbit spares and nine spares available on the ground. Final integration of the satellites is taking place at Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Chandler, Ariz., satellite factory.

The constellation is expected to start launching in 2015.