Iridium has agreed to combine with an affiliate of New York investment bank Greenhill & Co. as part of a strategy to raise $500 million in seed capital for deployment of it next-generation satellite communications network.
It’s a success story borne of utter failure. Iridium, after the bankruptcy of the original company (which meant a write-off by parent Motorola of the $5 billion it cost to field a 66-satellite low-earth-orbit constellation), said it expects to post a small profit this year on the strength of its commercial services.
AirCell is introducing two new airborne telecommunications products, the AST 3500, which combines cellular technology with the Iridium satcom system, and the ST 3100, which relies exclusively on Iridium. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in November.
Duncan Aviation said it has completed installation of an EMS Satcom eNfusion HSD-400 satellite communications system in a Bombardier Challenger 601-3R. The satcom hardware allows passengers to use their personal Wi-Fi devices, BlackBerrys, iPhones and other data communication gear in flight in two of three worldwide satellite regions that are available now.
Hoping to duplicate the success of in-flight datalink weather services that have exploded in the U.S., Avidyne (Booth No. 563) is introducing an Iridium-based satellite data transceiver that will deliver weather graphics and text to pilots flying in Europe.
For operators clamoring to take full advantage of Inmarsat’s new Swift64 airborne data service, Honeywell and Thales announced that the new MCS-7000 satcom system has received FAA approval. The first MCS-7000 has been shipped to Gulfstream’s Appleton, Wis. completion center for installation on a Gulfstream IV-SP owned and operated by Phillips Petroleum.
Ireland-based Aircraft Management Technologies (AMT) launched a new electronic flight book system called Flightman. It is claimed to be the first to allow secure, wireless transmission of aircraft and operations data from a portable computing device to an operator’s server.
Boeing cleared a major hurdle in the development of its recently announced air-traffic management system after the Federal Communications Commission granted the Seattle-based company a mobile satellite service license. The move allows Boeing to build a medium-earth-orbit constellation of non-geosynchronous satellites in the 2-GHz band.
AirCell Inc. and Iridium Satellite LLC have reached an agreement that would allow AirCell to offer Iridium-based satellite communications products and services. As part of the agreement, AirCell is expanding its airborne telecommunications product line by developing new Iridium-based products to be offered through AirCell’s existing network of U.S. dealers, as well as through a newly formed and expanding network of international dealers.
Iridium last month said it has reached agreements with three companies to develop the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, called Iridium Next. Lockheed Martin, Space Systems Loral and Thales Alenia Space will develop design concepts, review critical engineering and evaluate performance and capabilities. Iridium said it will select two additional partners for detailed system development.