WASHINGTON, March 25, 1998 -- Iridium LLC successfully added two more Iridium satellites to the Iridium constellation, bringing the total number of operational Iridium satellites on orbit to 5l. The two satellites were launched on a Chinese Long March 2C/SD rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China.
The two satellites are part of Iridium LLC's 66-satellite wireless personal telecommunications network designed to offer full global coverage and a variety of communications services, including voice, data, fax and paging to handheld subscriber equipment. This was Iridium's eleventh successful launch in the last 10 months, with four more launches scheduled over the next five weeks.
``It's been 11 years in the making, and now we're only six months away,'' said Edward F. Staiano, Iridium LLC Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, referring to the September 23, 1998 target date for commercial activation of the Iridium System. ``With successful launches such as this one, we continue to meet our milestones and move closer to offering the first truly global wireless telephone service.''
``We congratulate China Great Wall for their second successful Long March 2C/SD, marking the 50th flight of Long March Series of launch vehicles,'' said Motorola Chief Executive Officer Christopher Galvin. ``This launch is another very important step for us as we enter the final months of the deployment campaign for the Iridium system, and move closer to our final launch which will also be aboard a Long March 2C/SD.''
The Long March 2C/SD rocket lifted off the launch pad at 12:01 p.m. EST. Satellite separation occurred approximately 50 minutes after liftoff. The two satellites will be maneuvered into their respective positions to become part of the operational constellation.
Iridium LLC is developing and commercializing a global wireless communications network that will combine the worldwide reach of 66 low earth orbit satellites with land-based wireless systems to enable subscribers to communicate using handheld telephones and pagers virtually anywhere in the world. Iridium World Communications, Ltd. is the public investment vehicle of Iridium LLC.
Iridium is a registered trademark and service mark of Iridium LLC.