Snowmobile Race Showcases Iridium's Robust Two-Way Data Links for Remote Tracking and Monitoring
BETHESDA, Md. - February 8, 2008 - Competitors in the grueling Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile race will not be out of sight at any time during their nearly 2,000-mile competition across the Alaskan wilderness, thanks to an Iridium®-enabled tracking system developed by World Communication Center (WCC).
Billed as the "World's Longest, Toughest Snowmobile Race," the Tesoro Iron Dog competition covers 1,971 miles from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks over six days. Each of the 42 two-member teams will defy sub-zero cold, poor visibility and deep snow to push their snowmobiles and bodies to the limits to reach the finish line. This year's annual event begins on February 10, 2008.
Through a partnership with Applied Satellite Engineering (ASE) and Ontec Technologies, WCC is outfitting each snowmobile team with Iridium short-burst data (SBD) devices, which will permit officials and spectators to track the position of each racer throughout the competition. WCC's position reports via Google Earth will be viewable via the Tesoro Iron Dog Website showing the latest location of each team.
"The Tesoro Iron Dog provides an excellent platform to demonstrate Iridium's rugged and reliable two-way satellite data links, which are increasingly being used by commercial and government organizations to track and monitor assets in remote locations," said Greg Ewert, executive vice president of Iridium Satellite. "Our SBD service is Iridium's fastest-growing business area, with subscriptions rising more than 300 percent over the last 12 months."
"WCC's Iridium-enabled automatic tracking and reporting technology gives everyone a way to follow this world-class event and provides a critical margin of safety by making it possible for race officials to see each team's location within minutes and respond quickly in the event of an emergency," said Laura Bedard, executive director, Tesoro Iron Dog.
"Being in Alaska and sponsoring the Tesoro Iron Dog allows us to showcase our specialty products in action under the most extreme environmental conditions in the world," said Sam Romey, WCC president and long-time Alaskan resident. "We've had a lot of success with the organization since 2006 and look forward to another sensational year."
In addition to supplying the tracking units, WCC is extending its rental program to Tesoro Iron Dog participants and spectators via the dedicated Website wcclp.com/Iron Dog. Through this program, renters can test satellite equipment on a weekly basis with low per-minute rates that are often a fraction of an international cell phone call.
About Iridium Satellite
Iridium Satellite LLC (www.iridium.com) is the only mobile satellite service (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 250,000 users are in the maritime, aeronautical, government/defense, public safety, utilities, oil/gas, mining, forestry, heavy equipment and transportation industries. 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 based in Bethesda, Md., and Tempe, Ariz., U.S.A. and is privately held.
About Tesoro Iron Dog
The first Iron Dog (Iron Dog.org) race was held in March of 1984. Warm temperatures forced the event to begin in McGrath, Alaska instead of Big Lake and finish in Nome. The event began as the "Iron Dog Iditarod," but the name was quickly changed the next year to the "Gold Rush Classic." Beginning in 1990, the race was recognized as the "Iron Dog Gold Rush Classic" for a decade until Tesoro Corporation became a title sponsor, thus giving today's event the name Tesoro Iron Dog.
At 1,971 miles in length - starting in Big Lake to Nome and finishing in Fairbanks - today's Iron Dog course provides for the world's longest snowmobile race. Participants must traverse in some of Alaska's most remote and rugged terrain while confronting some of the harshest winter conditions; survival skills are essential, making it the most challenging snowmobile race in the world. For safety, each team in all race classes must consist of two persons and two snowmobiles.
Tesoro Iron Dog offers a non-competitive recreational class giving adventure-seekers an opportunity to travel 1,100 miles on the Northern route of the Iditarod National Historic Trail to Nome. The recreational class can have a team of two or more.
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.
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