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Iridium Names S. Scott Smith as Executive Vice President, Iridium NEXT

MCLEAN, Va., April 13, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) today announced the appointment of S. Scott Smith to the role of executive vice president for Iridium NEXT, the company's next generation satellite constellation program. The appointment of Mr. Smith comes as Lee Demitry, the company's current executive vice president for Iridium NEXT, announces his resignation. Effective Monday, April 19, Mr. Smith will join Iridium to lead the design, build, launch and implementation of Iridium's next generation satellite network. Today, Iridium operates the world's only truly global communications network, which also has the distinction of being the world's largest commercial satellite constellation.

"Scott is a superb executive with the right business experience and technical expertise to lead us into the next phase of the Iridium NEXT program, and we are very pleased to welcome him to the Iridium team," said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. "Scott has an impressive track record of success leading teams on complex technology development initiatives, and I am confident that he is the right leader at the right time as we move into the development, build and launch phases for our next constellation."

Mr. Smith joins Iridium from DigitalGlobe Inc., a commercial remote sensing satellite company, where he has served as chief operating officer since 2005. In this role, he oversaw the company's operations and engineering organizations; production strategy; satellite commissioning and ground systems; and the company's global expansion of its direct access business. During his tenure, he led development and operations for WorldView-1 and WorldView-2, the world's most sophisticated high resolution imaging satellites, which were launched in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

Prior to DigitalGlobe, from 1995 until 2005, Mr. Smith was a founder and served as executive vice president, sales, engineering and operations of Space Imaging Inc., which owned and operated IKONOS, the world's first one-meter resolution commercial imaging satellite. Space Imaging was acquired by ORBIMAGE to form GeoEye, Inc. in late 2005. Mr. Smith's previous experiences include engineering and management roles at Lockheed Missiles and Space Company, including responsibility for spacecraft control products for the Iridium program at Lockheed from 1990 through 1994. 

Mr. Smith holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from Syracuse University and Master of Science degree in Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering from Stanford University.

Having achieved his primary goal, Lee Demitry, the company's current executive vice president for Iridium NEXT, is turning over the reins and will support the transition while returning to his own consulting practice.

"Putting the NEXT program on solid footing from its inception has been an enormously exciting and complex undertaking, and largely made possible by the dedicated handful of employees forming the Iridium NEXT Team," said Demitry. "I wish Iridium every success going forward."

"Lee has successfully led the Iridium NEXT program through its challenging seminal phase, and Iridium owes him a great debt of gratitude," said Desch. "Under Lee's leadership, we crafted and implemented system, satellite, launch and ground procurement strategies, and completed system development through System Design Review. As the result of his tireless efforts, Iridium is well prepared to embark on the next phase of the program. We are glad he will be supporting this transition and wish him all the best."

Iridium NEXT is an intensive, multi-year design and development program that began in 2006 for purposes of developing the next generation Iridium satellite constellation. Iridium NEXT is expected to provide the company's growing customer base continued backward-compatible access to the Iridium network, as well as an enhanced array of new services, while maintaining the company's unique and advanced cross-linked satellite architecture.

Additional information on Iridium's management team can be found on the Company's website at

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements include statements regarding Iridium NEXT. Other forward-looking statements can be identified by the words "anticipates," "may," "can," "believes," "expects," "projects," "intends," "likely," "will," "to be" and other expressions that are predictions or indicate future events, trends or prospects. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Iridium to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, uncertainties regarding the development and availability of financing for Iridium NEXT and other risks that affect our ability to generate cash internally, as well as general industry and economic conditions, and competitive, legal, governmental and technological factors. Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements include those factors listed under the caption "Risk Factors" in the company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 16, 2010. There is no assurance that Iridium's expectations will be realized. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if Iridium's underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Iridium's forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and Iridium undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.

About Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium Communications Inc. ( is the only mobile satellite service (MSS) company offering coverage over the entire globe. The Iridium constellation of low-earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites provides critical voice and data services for areas not served by terrestrial communication networks. Iridium serves commercial markets through a worldwide network of distributors, and provides services to the U.S. Department of Defense and other U.S. and international government agencies. The company's customers represent a broad spectrum of industry, including maritime, aeronautical, government/defense, public safety, utilities, oil/gas, mining, forestry, heavy equipment and transportation. Iridium has launched a major development program for its next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. The company is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A. and trades on the NASDAQ Global Market under the ticker symbols IRDM (common stock), IRDMW ($7.00 warrants), IRDMZ ($11.50 warrants) and IRDMU (units).

CONTACT:  Iridium Communications Inc.
          Press Contact:
          Liz DeCastro
          +1 (301) 461-3704

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