Iridium To Launch Final Batch Of NEXT Satellites
The final batch of Iridium NEXT satellites will soon launch, completing a two-year upgrade to the company's network.
The launch caps a decades-long trajectory for the company from misfire to takeoff.
By the time Motorola finished deploying its Phoenix-built Iridium satellites in 1998, the $5 billion project was already outmoded, a victim of the cellular sea change Motorola itself helped bring about.
But the vast and complex mesh network, which solves line-of-sight problems by letting satellites pass signals around, was too useful to let die.
Following a government contract, a bankruptcy and a fire-sale buyout, a leaner Iridium spun off into what "Wired" magazine called the "first pan-national corporation."
Today its client sectors include commercial tracking, defense and the Internet of Things.