BETHESDA, Md. - February 7, 2008 - Iridium® Satellite has recently upgraded the satellite phones used by Russian cosmonauts when returning to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS). The Russian authorities are replacing the older 9505 Iridium handsets, which have been in service since 2003, with new-generation 9505A units.
"The Iridium phones provide a critical safety link for communicating with the returning cosmonauts," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president of Iridium Satellite. "The Soyuz descent vehicles often land in very remote regions of Russia, which are not covered by terrestrial telecommunication networks. The Iridium phone, coupled with a highly accurate GPS receiver, helps the search and rescue teams locate and recover the spacecraft and crew without delay."
"Iridium originally supplied the 9505 handsets to the S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation (RSC) Energia, in August 2003," said Alexander Spirin, RSC Energia. "An Iridium satellite phone has become standard equipment on each Soyuz space vehicle delivering cosmonauts to the ISS and returning them back to Earth, providing the capability to establish reliable communications with rescue teams."
"The Iridium satellite phones provide an important margin of safety for our returning cosmonauts," continued Spirin. "The robustness and performance of the units have proved Iridium’s ability to provide worldwide, gap-free coverage and excellent network quality, making them an ideal solution for this demanding requirement."
About Iridium Satellite
Iridium Satellite LLC (www.iridium.com) is the only mobile satellite service (MSS) offering gap-free, pole-to-pole coverage over the entire globe. Iridium’s constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites (and multiple in-orbit spares) provides critical voice and data services for regions not served by other communication networks. Driven by increasing demand for reliable, secure, global, mobile satellite links, Iridium has been steadily growing at a double-digit annual rate since 2004. Iridium serves commercial markets through a worldwide network of more than 150 partners, and also provides services to the U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. and international government agencies. The company’s 250,000 users are in the maritime, aeronautical, government/defense, public safety, utilities, oil/gas, mining, forestry, heavy equipment and transportation industries. Iridium has launched a major development program for its next-generation satellite constellation, called "NEXT," through which it will enable satellite-based innovations beyond communications. The company is based in Bethesda, Md., and Tempe, Ariz., U.S.A. and is privately held.
About S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia
Since its founding in 1946, the S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia (www.energia.ru) has been carrying out daring rocket and space projects using revolutionary engineering solutions. Considered pioneers in rocket and space technology, famous contributions to the industry include the R-7 rocket design, launching the first artificial satellite, putting the first human in space, advancing the monitoring of weather and the Earth’s surface from space, and developing manned space stations and their transportation and logistical support as well as a reusable, unmanned orbiter. Cooperative goals with the U.S. include continuing to implement the ISS development plan as well as putting a man on the surface of planet Mars.