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Iridium® overview

The Iridium® satellite system consists of a constellation of 66 interconnected satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Iridium® is the only satellite system available worldwide (including the polar regions).



Short introduction

  • Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Virginia, USA
  • Founded: 1991 as Iridium Inc.
  • Named after the chemical element iridium
  • Operating Centers: Tempe, Arizona and Leesburg, Virginia, USA
  • Frequency band: L band
  • Global voice and data services for land mobile, maritime and aeronautical applications
  • Satellite system: Operation of the 1st satellite fleet began in 1998. Complete replacement of the satellite fleet in early 2019

The satellite system and its infrastructure

The Iridium® satellite system is a dynamic network; Each Iridium satellite is connected to up to four other satellites (two satellites in the same orbital plane and one in each adjacent plane).

The LEO satellites are located 780 kilometers from Earth. These orbits are called Low Earth Orbits.

Iridium® enables the use of high-quality voice and data connections via satellite with appropriate devices and SIM cards.

Customer demand for innovative and reliable communication solutions is constantly increasing. To meet this need, Iridium® completely replaced its first satellite fleet in early 2019 with unique and advanced LEO satellites (Iridium® Next). Furthermore, the supporting ground infrastructure was upgraded.

The Iridium® ground infrastructure consists of the Satellite Network Operatin Center (SNOC), the ground stations and the technical support center. The ground infrastructure ensures the high reliability and capacity of the Iridium® satellite system through multiple layers of redundancy and back-up systems.

Iridium® developed Iridium Certus®, a new multi-service platform. Since then, Iridium® has been able to offer its customers special broadband services.

Previously the maximum data transfer rate (with Iridium OpenPort) was up to 134 kbps (shared).

With Iridium Certus@ the current data transfer rate is up to 704 kbps (shared).