Comments for en-gb 30 Thu 03 Sep 2015 02:29:52 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at Mike Mullen Off topic but the SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off at 7:45pm our time and seems to have been a complete success! Fri 04 Jun 2010 19:04:26 GMT+1 Jonathan Amos @TheyCallMeTheWonderer: It's an excellent question and I was wondering exactly the same thing! TAS tell me the flares will end with the Next constellation. The antenna configuration - which gives rise to the flashes on the present satellites - is completely different on the new spacecraft. So make the most of them now. A few months back I saw two glorious flares. I'm told Matt Desch has an app on his iPhone that tells him when and where to look. For those of us without iPhones, there is always the ever excellent Heavens Above website.As regards the spec on the new sats, TAS sent me the following: · Thales Alenia Space is prime contractor, in charge of engineering, systems integration and supply of a space segment comprising 72 operational satellites + 9 spares (the customer supplies the launchers and modifications to ground facilities) · Options for 3 to 6 additional satellites per year after 2016 · Flexible platform, based on our constellation product line · Sophisticated active antenna: L-band multibeam transmission/reception · Onboard processing for call routing (calls do not go via the ground) · Intersatellite links · 2-axis solar panels · Orbit: 780 km · Weight: 796 kg · Electrical power: 2kWI will write more about the new satellites in the coming weeks because they are going to carry piggy-bag payloads. Many are likely to be Earth observation instruments. It is a very interesting proposition.And finally: I've had a number of people ask me how Iridium plans to deal with the end-of-life de-orbit/debris mitigation issue. The plan currently is to push the old satellites lower in the sky and then let them come back to Earth. Thu 03 Jun 2010 23:08:09 GMT+1 BluesBerry What's all the excitement? What have I missed?Iridium Communications Inc. has announced its comprehensive plan for funding, building and deploying its next-generation satellite constellation, “Iridium NEXT”. Specifically, the Company announced the execution of a fixed price contract with Thales Alenia Space, a joint company between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%), for the design and construction of satellites FOR (not themsleves, not for Europe but for) the Iridium NEXT constellation. The Thales Group is a French electronics company delivering information systems and services for the Aerospace, Defense, and Security markets. The headquarters are in Neuilly-sur-Seine (in the suburbs of Paris). It is now partially state-owned by the French State, and has operations in more than 50 countries. It has 68,000 employees and generated over €12.3 billion in revenues in 2007. In addition, the company announced that Coface, the French export credit agency, has issued, for the account of the French State, a "Promise of Guarantee" which commits to cover 95% of the $1.8 billion credit facility for the project. The financing to be covered by the Coface guarantee is being syndicated through French and other major international banks and financial institutions and is expected to be completed this summer. This is a great comeback: The Iridium Network was put into orbit in the late 1990s but soon ran into financial difficulties and went into bankruptcy owing to the limited market for a global mobile network. The company was bought for a fraction of its original price and now runs as a private operation that contracts to a variety of business and military organisations.Iridium Communications Inc. is a publicly traded company headquartered in McLean,VA. Iridium's mobile voice and data communications solutions, for a wide variety of industries, are supported by the only truly global communications network, with coverage of the entire Earth, including oceans, airways and Polar Regions. Iridium's constellation - the world's largest commercial satellite constellation - consists of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites operating as a fully meshed network and supported by multiple in-orbit spares. The Iridium constellation architecture ensures high reliability and low-latency. Iridium is constantly finding new ways to expand the possible, including our next-generation constellation, Iridium NEXT, which will bring enhanced and entirely new services and capabilities to our customers, and is anticipated to begin launching in 2015. Iridium provides service to subscribers from the US Department of Defense, as well as other civil and government agencies around the world. Iridium sells its products, solutions and services through a network of service providers and value-added dealers. Company: Iridium Communications Inc. Corporate Headquarters: McLean, Virginia, USAOperations Centers: Tempe, Arizona and Leesburg, Virginia, USA Workforce: Approximately 170 employees worldwide So this appears to me to be what's happening here:Thales Alenia Space will build the next generation of satellites;for Iridium Next, and the French will guarantee the spending, eliminating risk.Afterwards, the US Defense Dept & Intelligence Department (thanks to these wonderful Iridium Next, new generation satellites) will be better enabled to every move made by every persons anywhere in the world that it wants to "catch" in so-called illegal activity and/or blow the heck out of.Yes, indeed, this is exciting! Thu 03 Jun 2010 13:59:28 GMT+1 TheyCallMeTheWonderer Thanks Jonathan, a great story as always. Your blog always makes an Al-Desko lunch that bit more enjoyable.Can you tell us anything about the design of the new spacecraft? Specifically will they still have the giant flat antennas that produce those amazing flares? Thu 03 Jun 2010 11:52:05 GMT+1 John_from_Hendon Coface is just like our ECGD organisation, but because they are French you seem to think that they are fair game.The one thing that the Iridium 'business' shows us is that bankruptcy is a good way to get too high historic costs and the overvalued assets purchased with them back into productive use at a more sustainable price.In essence there is a market for a global phone system but the set up costs were too high, rather like cable TV in the UK.By the way why isn't there a European version of Coface and the ECGD? Thu 03 Jun 2010 08:33:55 GMT+1