Iridium and Service Partners Provide Critical Voice and Data Communications for Racers, Dogs and Volunteers
MCLEAN, Va. - Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) is teaming with its service partners, SatCom Global and IonEarth, to provide satellite voice and data services for the Iditarod® Sled Dog Race, beginning March 5 in Anchorage, Alaska.
Iridium is the world's farthest reaching mobile voice and data communications provider. A leader in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, end customers are increasingly relying on sophisticated, Iridium-based M2M satellite communications solutions to track, locate and ensure the safety of their most valuable assets worldwide.
IonEarth, an Iridium value-added reseller, is equipping each of the Iditarod participating sleds with an Iridium-based lightweight battery-powered GPS tracking device. The device will transmit the sled's location, speed, heading, altitude and air temperature every 15 minutes through the Iridium satellite network.
Iridium service provider SatCom Global is providing Iridium satellite phones, which race officials and the volunteer bush pilots of the "Iditarod Air Force" will use for race safety communications across the Alaskan wilderness. SatCom Global is also ensuring key race personnel, including the race marshal and chief veterinarian, have pagers for communications with their staffs throughout the race.
Race fans can view the sleds' position updates transmitted via Iridium 24 hours a day on www.iditarod.com. The racers themselves will not be able to view the data from the trackers in the field, preserving the tradition of self-sufficiency and independence in competing against each other and fighting the elements.
Each team of 12 to 16 dogs and their musher will traverse the Iditarod trail through the Alaskan wilderness from Anchorage to Nome, covering more than 1,049 miles in 10 to 17 days, through some of the world's harshest terrain. Most of the route - particularly through the center of Alaska - is not covered by terrestrial landlines, cellular networks or other satellite communication services.
"Safety is our number one priority for the Iditarod, and Iridium is the only satellite system that provides reliable coverage across the entire Iditarod trail," said Stan Hooley, executive director of the Iditarod Trail Committee (ITC). "At many of the checkpoints throughout the trail, we are relying solely on the Iridium tracking devices and phone handsets to provide a critical safety and communications lifeline for the mushers, dogs, medical personnel, media, bush pilots and volunteers who staff the isolated checkpoints along the trail."
"The ITC requires satellite tracking devices as mandatory safety equipment on all sleds competing in the Iditarod," said Jerry Miller, president of IonEarth. "The robustness of the Iridium network is critical in these remote regions where some of the most extreme weather conditions on the planet are experienced."
"Iridium is an important communications utility for thousands of people who live, work and travel in the frontier regions of Alaska," said Teri Petram, regional sales manager, Americas of SatCom Global and Alaska native. "Iridium is often their only link with the outside world."
"For over five years, Iridium and our partners have supported the Iditarod," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president, global distribution channels for Iridium. "We wish all the mushers a safe and successful race as they face this supremely difficult challenge."
About Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium Communications Inc. (www.iridium.com) is the only mobile satellite service (MSS) company offering coverage over the entire globe. The Iridium constellation of low-Earth orbiting (LEO) cross-linked satellites provides critical voice and data services for areas not served by terrestrial communication networks. Iridium serves commercial markets through a worldwide network of distributors, and 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, Iridium NEXT. The company is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A. and trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbols IRDM (common stock), IRDMW ($7.00 warrants), IRDMZ ($11.50 warrants) and IRDMU (units).
IonEarth (www.ionearth.com), an Iridium value-added reseller, provides real-time tracking and logistics support for a wide range of sporting events, including long-distance off-road and sailing races, as well as expeditions in the remote regions of the world. The company is based in Traverse City, Mich.
About SatCom Global
SatCom Global (satcomglobal.com) is an Iridium value-added reseller and service provider. SatCom Global supplies reliable satellite communications equipment and airtime throughout an international network of service providers and dealers.
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race (www.iditarod.com), billed as the "Last Great Race on Earth," runs from Anchorage, in south central Alaska, to Nome on the western Bering Sea. The racers will cover more than 1,049 miles in 10 to 17 days. The iconic competition pays homage to the mushers who, in 1925, raced across the Alaskan wilderness to deliver needed diphtheria serum to Nome via the Iditarod Trail mail routes.
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