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ProTECTS Alliance Drives Standards Dialogue for Personal Satellite Tracking Devices

MCLEAN, Va., June 1, 2010-- The ProTECTS Alliance (Promotion of Two-way Emergency Communication and Tracking Systems), an industry group created to foster the rapid and orderly adoption of two-way satellite personal location, alerting and messaging technologies, held its second meeting in San Diego, Calif. on May 17, 2010. The ProTECTS Alliance session coincided with the Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services (RTCM) Annual Assembly Meeting.

"One of the key goals of the ProTECTS Alliance is to serve as a bridge between manufacturers and the search-and-rescue (SAR) community for development of practical and workable standards," said Patrick Shay, ProTECTS chairman and vice president of data services for Iridium Communications Inc. "At the San Diego meeting, the U.S. National Search and Rescue Committee (NSARC) Commercial Emergency Notification and Locating Device Working Group presented a draft Interface Control Document for review. This draft specification is an important first step toward creating a standardized reporting format for transmitting information to SAR responders."

ProTECTS members and other interested parties will have an opportunity to respond with comments on the draft standard, which can be found at

Speakers at the ProTECTS Alliance meeting were:

  • Peter Bradley, staff officer operations (communications and information), Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), who provided an overview of the organization's MOB Guardian devices for facilitating response to boats in distress and man-overboard situations. The application facilitated quick responses to capsized boats resulting in five saved lives over the past 18 months.
  • Dave Fuhrmann, manager, SAR programs, U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC), who discussed how the AFRCC handles emergency calls and interfaces with inland SAR operations within the 48 contiguous states.
  • Chris Hoffman, RTCM board of directors and chairman of the RTCM special committee developing standards for Satellite Emergency Notification Devices (SENDS), who gave an update on the committee's work and also discussed developments within the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
  • Allan Knox, U.S. Air Force Distress Alert Satellite System program manager and NSARC co-chairman, who presented the draft Interface Control Document.

Shay noted that the ProTECTS Alliance membership has more than doubled from 23 at the end of 2009 to more than 50 as of the recent meeting. "This impressive rate of growth reflects the high degree of interest among the various stakeholders in the rapidly emerging market for personal satellite location, alerting and messaging devices."

Membership is open to mobile satellite companies, service providers, product developers, manufacturers, system integrators, network operators, distributors, resellers, retailers, users, consultants, SAR organizations, public-safety agencies, trade associations, national and international regulatory bodies, and non-governmental organizations (NGO). Information on the ProTECTS Alliance may be found at

The ProTECTS Alliance expects to schedule its next meeting in the third quarter of 2010.

About Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM)  ( 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., USA 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).

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