Iridium is committed to keeping space clean and serving as a leader for other organizations when it comes to being a responsible steward of space.
In 2010, we partnered with Johns Hopkins University and Boeing to implement the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE), as part of a grant from the National Science Foundation. The Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory implemented the program through hosted payloads on the Iridium constellation. The unique architecture of the Iridium constellation provides the AMPERE sensors the capability to measure the Earth’s magnetic field, forecast space weather and solar storms, and track many other important observations. This enables high-quality forecasting of space-based solar storms that can disrupt aviation and terrestrial telecom and satellite systems. AMPERE provides data every two to 20 seconds to the ground stations, allowing for analysis within minutes – up to 100 times faster than before the program’s launch! While the first-generation Iridium satellites were not designed for hosted payloads, we were able to accommodate the AMPERE mission using existing sensors. With the transition to our second-generation constellation, we will be able to continue supporting AMPERE with even better input data.
Thought Leaders in Space Stewardship
Iridium is keenly aware of the importance of minimizing the risks associated with orbital debris. On February 11, 2009, an abandoned, uncontrolled Russian satellite crashed into Iridium 33, one of our active communication satellites, in an unprecedented space collision. Following this jolting crash, Iridium identified a need for better monitoring of all objects in space, as well as management and mitigation of space debris. In the days, weeks, and months following the collision, Iridium engineers began working with the government, U.S. Air Force, and NASA to build best practices for space operations and satellite end-of-life disposal. Today, we have integrated conjunction awareness and maneuverability capabilities into our operational DNA. Iridium maintains close and constant communication with the primary knowledge leader in the field of space debris, the U.S. Air Force Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC). Through this partnership, we help to develop content and data for the space catalog, a public resource used to track all space debris. Additionally, our space operations team partners closely with JSpOC, the Joint Functional Component Command for Space (JFCC Space), the Conjunction Assessment Technical Advisory Council (CA TAC), and the Center for Orbital Debris Education and Research (CODER) to monitor and share our space traffic data, as well as help educate and influence other organizations on the importance of space situational awareness.
Our Voice Heard
Space Weather Monitoring
In 2010, we partnered with Johns Hopkins University and Boeing to implement the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE), as part of a grant from the National Science Foundation. The Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory implemented the program through hosted payloads on the Iridium constellation. The unique architecture of the Iridium constellation provides the AMPERE sensors the capability to measure the Earth’s magnetic field, forecast space weather and solar storms, and track many other important observations. This enables high-quality forecasting of space-based solar storms that can disrupt aviation and terrestrial telecom and satellite systems. AMPERE provides data every two to 20 seconds to the ground stations, allowing for analysis within minutes – up to 100 times faster than before the program’s launch! While the original Block 1 satellites were not designed for hosted payloads, we were able to accommodate the AMPERE mission using existing sensors. With the transition to our second-generation constellation, we will be able to continue supporting AMPERE with even better input data.
ENABLING ENVIRONMENTAL WORK & RESEARCH
Iridium supports important sustainability and environmental work and research all around the globe. From climate change monitoring, to carbon footprint reduction, to wildlife protections, our technology enables many solutions designed to help make the world a safer, cleaner place.
The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup is an ambitious project seeking to rid the world’s oceans of plastic garbage by conducting the largest ocean cleanup in history. To do so, the team has created a system of 600-meter-long floating plastic collectors that include a 3-meter-deep skirt designed to collect plastic pollution. Iridium has joined the project as the preferred satellite communications partner. The Ocean Cleanup system is equipped with two Iridium Pilot® terminals providing the Iridium OpenPort® broadband service, which allows the autonomous system to relay critical systems data back to the team in Rotterdam, including compartment flood detection, position and location information, pictures (like the one to the right), 360-degree video, and system performance information. As The Ocean Cleanup team scales up the project to 60 systems, Iridium and AST will continue to support the mission with terminals and service, and plan to begin providing Iridium CertusSM hardware and services once it becomes available.
Click here to learn more about our involvement in The Ocean Cleanup.
Carbon Footprint and Green House Gas Reduction through AireonSM
Aireon, a joint venture in which Iridium is a significant partner, will enable the ability for commercial airline operations around the globe to reduce Green House Gas (GHG) emissions. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, commercial flights contribute about 2 percent of manmade CO2 emissions annually. Aireon uses space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers, specially built into each Iridium NEXT satellite, enabling the first truly global air traffic surveillance system. Using this technology, the aviation industry will be able to limit fuel emissions by improving operations of its aircraft in remote and oceanic airspace through more precise locating capabilities and optimal altitudes, speeds, and routes. According to a 2016 study at the Purdue University School of Aeronautics, “From 2020 to 2030, space-based ADS-B can make it possible to prevent approximately 14.3 million metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. This is the equivalent to removing more than 300,000 cars from U.S. roads each of those years.”
Our commitment to providing unparalleled, reliable pole-to-pole coverage enables researchers to engage in crucial activities, like O-Zone level measurement, polar ocean profiling, weather forecasting and data transmission, wave movement measurement, and Arctic Ocean mapping. We’ve partnered with various research groups and individuals to support this work with donated equipment and airtime on our network.
Click here for more information on our polar research solutions.
Iridium is a proud supporter of wildlife protection efforts around the globe. As wildlife continues to decline at alarming rates around the world, we are committed to collaborating with conservation organizations and scientists to use our technology for monitoring wildlife and fighting against poachers. We have a strong history of partnering with various organizations like Smithsonian National Zoo & Conservation Institute, Zoological Society of London, and Veterans Empowered to Protect African Wildlife (VETPAW) to develop solutions and donate resources that help protect global biodiversity.
Global Climate Monitoring
Iridium and its partners offer a range of IoT solutions that support climatology research and tracking. We understand the importance of this work in protecting our precious planet, so we are proud to support various independent research groups and individuals with donated equipment and airtime that allows them to conduct this critical work through scientific explorations, especially in remote areas.
Visit the Iridium blog to follow the work of these researchers!
CONFLICT MINERALS COMPLIANCE
Iridium Satellite LLC (“Iridium”) is committed to maintaining the highest standards of business conduct and ethics.
In recognizing that the trade of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (“Conflict Minerals” or “3TG”) has been a primary source of funding for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government’s armed conflict and human rights violations in the region surrounding the DRC, Congress enacted Section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Act to promote peace and security in the region. That Section provides, in part that effective January 1, 2013, companies that are regulated through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are required to disclose annually whether the Conflict Minerals (or their derivatives) in their products originated from the DRC region, and to disclose the due diligence conducted on the Conflict Minerals source and chain of custody.
Iridium is committed to complying with the SEC regulations regarding the reporting of the use of certain Conflict Minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries into its end user products.
Using the guidance provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Iridium has of implemented a due diligence program to identify the source and chain of custody of 3TG minerals in our supply chain. Our due diligence program includes:
- Establishing a strong supply chain management system to guard against using 3TG minerals mined or processed in the DRC and surrounding countries.
- Identifying and assessing risk in our supply chain.
- Designing and implementing a strategy to respond to identified risks.
- Carrying out an independent third-party audit of the supply chain due diligence.
- Reporting on supply chain due diligence.
At this time, some manufacturers are still not yet able to provide detailed information as to the smelters, refiners or ultimate sources of the 3TG minerals used in electronic devices, such as Iridium’s subscriber equipment, because of the complex and fragmented supply chains involved.
As part of its commitment to comply with the SEC 3TG minerals disclosure requirements, on an annual basis, Iridium surveys all of its suppliers to identify where 3TG minerals used in the manufacture of Iridium subscriber equipment are mined, smelted or refined.
In its contracts, Iridium also requires that its manufacturers and suppliers agree to the following activities in support of Iridium’s SEC Conflict Minerals compliance program:
- Developing a Conflict Minerals due diligence program consistent with OECD guidelines.
- Adopting a policy of responsible sourcing of 3TG minerals and require that their suppliers to do the same.
- To the extent available, use Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalitions (EICC) – Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSl) designated Conflict-Free Smelters Program list of compliant smelters as the source for any 3TG minerals used in the products supplied to Iridium.