Iridium Communications Inc., announced that it has begun live testing of the Iridium Certus service on operational Iridium NEXT satellites. Iridium Certus will be Iridium’s new, truly global broadband service, offering safety and critical L-band communications connectivity through the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation. Graduating from laboratory-based tests, Iridium Certus on-orbit testing is a major milestone along the path towards introducing commercial service, currently scheduled for early second quarter, 2018.
Beginning on September 25, 2017, the testing and validation process has involved uploading and activating software to the Iridium NEXT satellites already in orbit to enable Iridium Certus. As of October 4, 2017, several Iridium NEXT satellites in operation were already undergoing live on-orbit Iridium Certus testing. As each new additional Iridium NEXT satellite comes on-line in the coming months, Iridium Certus service will be activated through those satellites as well until all 66 operational satellites in the Iridium NEXT constellation are active, expected in 2018.
“Iridium Certus is going to fundamentally change the status quo in satellite connectivity for aviation, maritime, land-mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and government users,” says Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “Achieving this major milestone continues our momentum for our mission to introduce world-changing broadband services and applications designed to help our partners provide critical connectivity solutions, both standalone and in support of other broadband technologies.”
Iridium Certus terminals are being built by Cobham, L3 Communications, Rockwell Collins and Thales USA, all of which are participants in the Iridium Global Value Added Manufacturer program. It is expected that live on-orbit tests will be conducted on the terminals as they are ready. Featuring small form factor, cost-effective terminals and antennas, Iridium Certus will ultimately offer the fastest L-band broadband solution available, supported by the world’s only truly global network. Once all service classes are fully deployed, Iridium Certus will be capable of speeds up to 1.4 Mbps; however, it will feature a variety of service speeds, cost points, and antenna options. These include;
IoT-focused Iridium Certus 20 (22 Kbps) through small, battery powered and highly mobile devices capable of supporting applications such as asset tracking, remote monitoring, telemetry, the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) and global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) applications;
Iridium Certus 100 (88 Kbps) in small form factors capable of supporting applications such as email, graphical weather (WX), photo transfer, internet/VPN and credit card validating;
Iridium Certus 200 (176 Kbps) capable of supporting applications such as electronic chart and display information system (ECDIS) updates, aeronautical charts and streaming audio;
Iridium Certus 350 (352 Kbps) capable of supporting applications such as flight data recorder streaming, VSAT redundancy and low-resolution video;
Iridium Certus 700 (704 Kbps) supporting applications such as video conferencing, standard definition video, multi-user internet/VPN and telemedicine; and
Iridium Certus 1400 (1.4 Mbps) capable of supporting applications such as high definition video, video conferencing, multi-user internet/VPN, telemedicine and additional applications.
Current on-orbit testing is focused on Iridium Certus 350, the initial service class to be introduced, which will deliver internet and voice services to compact terminals built specifically for maritime, aviation, and terrestrial/vehicular applications. These terminal products will be upgradable to Iridium Certus 700 with a firmware update once the service is available.
Iridium NEXT is the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of inter-connected low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the entire globe – the largest commercial satellite constellation in space. The third launch for the Iridium NEXT constellation is currently targeting October 9, 2017 at 5:37 a.m. PDT out of Vandenberg Air Force Base, and will carry another 10 Iridium NEXT satellites to low-earth orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The constellation’s unique architecture features interconnected satellites that form a web of coverage around the earth, enabling low-latency connectivity over the oceans, in the poles and other remote areas.
For a complete overview of Iridium Certus speeds and capabilities, please visit www.iridium.com/company/industryleadership/iridiumcertus