Cambridge Consultants,the technology design and development firm, has been selected by Iridium Communications to play a key role in the deployment of Iridium NEXT, the company’s second-generation satellite constellation and the world’s most significant commercial space programme, which is expected to begin launching in early 2015.
Cambridge Consultants will spearhead subscriber equipment technology development for the constellation, which will cover the entire globe. It will also provide input into the broader satellite and ground infrastructure system design upon which Iridium NEXT is being built.
The Iridium network is the world's largest commercial satellite constellation. Covering the 90% of the Earth that cellular and terrestrial networks don’t cover, Iridium is extending connectivity in places and ways never before imagined – from aircraft tracking in Alaska to the rescue of a trapped mountaineer in Antarctica.
Iridium enables two-way, real-time, low-latency voice and data communications services through small, reliable devices and applications that change the way organisations and people are able to operate and live.
Cambridge Consultants is contributing to the Iridium NEXT technology roadmap through its unique knowledge of the current system, as well as its experience in leading-edge mainstream wireless technologies. The roadmap will provide Iridium customers with a new generation of feature enhancements and other product benefits as the Iridium NEXT project moves toward completion and beyond.
‘The Iridium NEXT system will enable unmatched wireless connectivity for people in every corner of the globe and with such a significant undertaking comes a myriad of technology challenges,’ said Scott Smith, executive vice-president, Technology Development & Satellite Operations, at Iridium.
‘It is uncommon in this industry to find such an effective long-term design partnership as the one we have with Cambridge Consultants, and we are pleased to have them as a part of the Iridium NEXT Mission Team that is collaborating to move this ambitious project from the design phase into reality.’
Richard Traherne, head of the Wireless division at Cambridge Consultants, said: 'By applying knowledge acquired through our years of work with Iridium, we will ensure not only that the ground terminals and infrastructure for Iridium NEXT are effective, but that performance and user experience take a significant step forward and that flexibility is built in to enable exciting new features for future users.'
With the preliminary design phase of Iridium NEXT satellites completed earlier this year, Cambridge Consultants said it is now embarking on the construction of prototype communications equipment that will be used to verify the design and performance of the Iridium NEXT system prior to the anticipated start of full construction in 2013. Iridium NEXT is expected to begin launching in 2015 and to be fully operational in 2017.