Strasbourg, June 24, 2021 -- The United States Army has awarded a research and development contract worth $30 million to Iridium Commununications Inc. to develop a payload (to be hosted on small satellites) that supports guidance, navigation and control (GNC) systems or the global positioning system (GPS) and GPS-denied precision systems.
The new experimental Iridium payload is intended to be hosted by another Low Earth Orbit (LEO) commercial satellite constellation, complementing the Iridium® constellation's capabilities. To develop this experimental payload Iridium has partnered with Satelles and SEAKR; as subcontractors, these companies will assist with the development.
Through this contract, the Army intends to develop this payload to support the concept of a rapidly deployable smallsat constellation to provide more effective sensor-to-soldier data transmission when in the field. The development of this new payload is based on Iridium Burst® technology, a unique service that can transmit data to millions of enabled devices at a time from space.
"This is one of the largest engineering contracts in Iridium's history, and we're pleased to once again bring the value of Iridium and our partner ecosystem to the fore at the request of the United States Army," said Matt Desch, CEO, Iridium. "It also represents another phase in the evolution of our growing relationship with the DoD, and we're excited to engage on this experimental multi-constellation adaptation of our service."