Iridium Communications has announced that it will team up with Thales Alenia Space to establish a new satellite constellation, named Iridium NEXT. Backing for the $1.8 billion project has been guaranteed by the French Credit Export Agency. The new satellite constellation will consist of 66 in-orbit satellites, six in-space spares as well as nine on-the-ground spare satellites. With nearly 360,000 subscribers to the service, Iridium provides coverage for satellite phones and other nautical communication systems.
“Iridium NEXT will provide the same great coverage but will support greater bandwidth and higher data rates to support more powerful devices,” said Scott Smith, Executive Vice President of Iridium Communications.