Satellite Constellation

Satellite Constellation

A uniquely sophisticated architecture

Iridium relies on the cross-linked architecture of its global constellation of 66 Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) communications satellites — and 6 in-orbit spares — to provide inherent performance and dependability advantages, everywhere around the world.

At only 476 miles (780 km) from the Earth, the proximity of Iridium’s LEO network means a shorter transmission path and stronger signals, permitting the use of smaller omnidirectional antennas for mobile handheld units. The low altitude of the satellites also provides:

  • The lowest latency of voice and data communications 
  • The shortest registration time, and 
  • The lowest communication delays of all mobile satellite service providers

In space, each Iridium satellite is linked to four others — two in the same orbital plane and one in each adjacent plane — creating a dynamic network that routes traffic among satellites to ensure a continuous connection, everywhere.

This unique configuration allows the Iridium network to remain unaffected by natural disasters, including hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes that can cripple terrestrial networks and wireless infrastructure.

With Iridium NEXT expected to begin launching in 2015, Iridium is on schedule to fully replace its current satellite constellation and introduce exciting new enhancements and innovations to the world of mobile communications.