Press Release

Senator Ted Stevens Officiates at New Iridium Satellite Ground Station in Alaska

By SpaceRef Editor
August 29, 2006
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Fairbanks-Based Facility Will Provide Iridium Satellite Telemetry, Tracking and Command/Control for Global Mobile Satellite Communications Constellation

Iridium Satellite LLC officially opened its new telemetry, tracking and command/control (TTAC) station in Fairbanks, Alaska yesterday in a move to provide additional layers of redundancy, flexibility and reliability for its global mobile satellite communication network.

The 12-acre TTAC site includes three Iridium earth terminals, each with a distinctive large white radome. Iridium plans to add two more terminals this year and three more terminals in 2007. The orbits of the Iridium satellite constellation intersect over the North Pole, and the new ground station will augment visibility and access to the constellation. It will add to Iridium’s command and control capabilities, and provide remote access to the satellites from Iridium’s existing gateways. In addition, the Alaska ground station will provide seamless, redundant access to the constellation.

U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens was the guest speaker at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Fairbanks ground station. “On behalf of all Alaskans, I’d like to thank Iridium for its commitment to Alaska,” Stevens said. “Over the last eight years, satellite communications have become a lifeline for our state. Our first responders, commercial fishermen in Dutch harbor, oil and gas workers in the remote north, and bush pilots flying across our state rely upon this system. This new ground station will ensure satellite communications services are available when needed.”

In introducing Sen. Stevens, Gen. Joe Ralston (Ret.), former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke on the vital importance of mobile satellite communications for U.S. forces, as well as for public safety and homeland defense.

“Our soldiers, airmen and sailors deployed all around the world rely day-in and day-out on Iridium to provide dependable, secure, over-the-horizon communications up and down the chain of command,” Ralston said. “When our Gulf Coast was ravaged by hurricanes last year, and Southeast Asia was devastated by the deadly tsunami the year before, mobile satellite phones provided the only working communication links for first responders and relief agencies when telephone lines and cellular towers were destroyed.”

Iridium Chairman and CEO, Dan Colussy, said, “Our selection of Fairbanks for this important ground station is a reflection of our ongoing commitment to the State of Alaska. It’s a great place to do business. We have been tremendously impressed by the caliber of the teams of Alaska citizens engaged in building, commissioning and operating the station.”

Colussy said, “As we saw with Hurricane Katrina and the September 11 terrorist attacks, the nation needs robust and dependable communication networks capable of operating uninterrupted during major disasters. This new ground station in Fairbanks will facilitate Iridium’s goal of having the highest level of redundancy and flexibility in providing voice and data services to Alaska and the rest of the country.”

“Iridium’s unique constellation architecture, with its 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites, is the only mobile satellite service that offers complete global pole-to-pole coverage with no gaps anywhere in the world. We are proud to say that our satellites cover every square inch of Alaska, from the tip of the Aleutians to Prudhoe Bay. No one else can make this claim,” added Colussy.

The Fairbanks site is Iridium’s fourth TTAC station. Two others are located in Canada, and one is in Iceland.

About Iridium Satellite

Iridium Satellite LLC ( is the only provider of truly global satellite voice and data solutions with complete coverage of the earth (including oceans, airways and Polar Regions). Iridium delivers essential communications services to and from remote areas where no other form of communication is available. The Iridium constellation consists of 66 LEO, cross-linked satellites and has multiple in-orbit spares. The constellation operates as a fully meshed network and is the largest commercial satellite constellation in the world. The Iridium service is ideally suited for industries such as maritime, aviation, government/military, emergency/humanitarian services, mining, forestry, oil and gas, heavy equipment, transportation and utilities. Iridium provides service to the U.S. Department of Defense. The company also designs, builds and sells its services, products and solutions through a worldwide network of more than 100 partners.

Source: Iridium Satellite LLC

SpaceRef staff editor.