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NBAA: Iridium preps for next-gen Certus satellite constellation

Satellite communications company Iridium Communications is using NBAA to highlight its new satellite network and a Thales-made aircraft antenna.

The antenna, a shoe-sized device called FlytLink, is the smallest antenna of its kind, and connects to the company's L-band satellite network, says Iridium executive vice-president of sales and marketing Bryan Hartin.

Iridium's competitive edge rests not on data transfer speeds, but rather the complete worldwide coverage of its satellite constellation. Nowhere on earth sits outside Iridium's coverage, executives say.

That constellation consists of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

Iridium has nearly completed set up of a new satellite constellation called Iridium Certus. The company has launched 66 of those satellites and plans a final launch to complete the constellation in the fourth quarter.

"We will have the youngest, L-band LEO constellation in the world," Hartin says.

The constellation, which will be operational next year, will enable Iridium to significantly improve data transfer speeds, it says.

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