"Last Great Race on Earth" Showcases Reliable Voice and Data Capabilities of Iridium Satellite Network
BETHESDA, Md. - February 28, 2008 - Iridium® Satellite and its service partners are providing critical satellite voice and data links for the 2008 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race®, which gets underway March 1. IonEarth is deploying Iridium-enabled bi-directional GPS tracking devices, which will permit race organizers, volunteers, media and fans to follow the movement of equipped mushers in real-time throughout the race at www.iditarod.com/flashmap. World Communication Center (WCC) is also supplying Iridium satellite phones and pagers, which will be used by the Iditarod Race Committee and volunteers to communicate along the course.
"While the Iditarod event provides a dramatic showcase for Iridium's mobile satellite services (MSS), it's important to remember that Iridium is a public utility and critical lifeline for thousands of Alaska's citizens, many of whom live and work beyond the reach of terrestrial phone lines and wireless networks," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president of Iridium Satellite. "Our ubiquitous pole-to-pole gap-free coverage and unmatched network quality are the primary reasons Iridium has surged to become the fastest-growing MSS provider in the market today. Our subscriber base in Alaska continues to grow exponentially, driven in large measure by customers switching from other satellite systems with poor coverage and reliability."
"This will be the first time the Iditarod has deployed satellite tracking devices," said Stan Hooley, executive director of the Iditarod Trail Committee. "IonEarth has developed a remote tracking solution that leverages Iridium's short-burst data (SBD) service to meet our demanding requirements for reliable operation under some of the most extreme weather conditions on the planet. At the same time, WCC's donation of satellite phones and airtime will help us keep in contact with volunteers on the ground and in the air, giving an important margin of safety and security throughout the race."
"The IonEarth tracking devices, which will be mounted on 20 of the competing sleds this year, consist of a miniature GPS receiver, Iridium SBD modem, control electronics and lightweight, high-performance batteries especially designed for extended operation in very cold weather," explained Jerry Miller of IonEarth. "The devices will transmit information such as position, speed, heading and temperature through the Iridium satellite network to a central server every 15 minutes. Interested parties can log onto the Iditarod Website, where they can view the latest location and details for each musher superimposed on a 3D terrain map of the trail. Reporters and film teams, as well as Iditarod race officials, will also be equipped with IonEarth terminals which are connected wirelessly to handheld computers, allowing them to monitor the mushers and each other from remote locations without the need for an Internet connection."
"As the official satellite phone service sponsor for the 2008 Iditarod, WCC will provide more than 40 satellite handsets and pager units for use by the bush pilots of the 'Iditarod Air Force' and volunteers on the ground along the trail," said Sam Romey, president of WCC. "Large portions of the Iditarod Trail are beyond the reach of terrestrial landlines and wireless systems, and Iridium is the only mobile satellite system that provides reliable coverage across the entire state of Alaska."
About Iridium Satellite
Iridium Satellite LLC (www.iridium.com) is the only MSS offering gap-free, pole-to-pole coverage over the entire globe. Iridium's constellation of 66 low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites (and multiple in-orbit spares) provides critical voice and data services for regions not served by other communication networks. Driven by increasing demand for reliable, secure, global, mobile satellite links, Iridium has been steadily growing at a double-digit annual rate since 2004. Iridium serves commercial markets through a worldwide network of more than 150 partners, and also provides services to the U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. and international government agencies. The company's customers represent a broad spectrum of industry, including maritime, aeronautical, government/defense, public safety, utilities, oil/gas, mining, forestry, heavy equipment and transportation. Iridium has launched a major development program for its next-generation satellite constellation, called "NEXT," through which it will enable satellite-based innovations beyond communications. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md. and is privately hel
The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (www.iditarod.com), which has been described as the "Last Great Race on Earth," runs from Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea coast. Ninety-six teams of 12-16 dogs and their mushers will cover almost 1,000 miles in 10-17 days, a homage to the mushers who, in 1925, helped deliver diphtheria serum to stricken Nome via the Iditarod Trail mail routes. The Iditarod covers some of the roughest, most-extreme terrain Mother Nature has to offer. Jagged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and miles of windswept coast test mushers and their dogs against everything wild in the Alaskan frontier.
IonEarth LLC (www.ionearth.com) develops real-time satellite telemetry, situational awareness and communication technologies serving operations in difficult and remote environments. Examples include support for teams, organizers and media participating in long-distance international competitions such as the grueling Baja off-road races, as well as petroleum industry operations requiring the scattered deployment and coordination of assets and personnel. IonEarth is an Iridium value-added reseller for integrated voice and data services.
World Communication Center, Inc. (WCC) (wcclp.com) is a subsidiary of SatCom Group and a leading provider of global satellite communication solutions, offering satellite service and equipment for satellite telephones, rental programs, mobile asset tracking devices and satellite broadband Internet. The company serves the government, maritime, travel and outdoor, aviation and commercial trucking industries. WCC's customers include Boeing, the U.S. Coast Guard, Oahu Civil Defense, the Peace Corps, the state of Alaska and the U.S. General Services Administration.
Rhodes Communications (for Iridium)
+1 (757) 451-0602
Chas St. George
+1 (907) 376-5155 ext. 115
+1 (231) 935-1585 ext. 106
World Communication Center
+1 (800) 211-2575