Iridium Communications announced on Thursday that the company has secured a research and development (R&D) contract from the U.S. Army worth up to $30 million to develop a payload to be hosted on small satellites that supports navigation systems, guidance and control for the global positioning system (GPS) and GPS-denied precision systems.
The Army intends to develop the payload to continue supporting the concept of a rapidly deployable smallsat constellation that will provide U.S. warfighters with more effective sensor-to-soldier data transmission in the field.
The development of this new payload is based on Iridium Burst technology, a unique service that can transmit data to millions of enabled devices at a time from space.
"This is one of the largest engineering contracts in Iridium's history, and we're pleased to once again bring the value of Iridium and our partner ecosystem to the fore at the request of the United States Army," said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium and a seven-time Wash100 Award winner. "It also represents another phase in the evolution of our growing relationship with the DoD, and we're excited to engage on for this experimental multi-constellation adaptation of our service."
The Department of Defense (DoD) and Iridium have partnered for more than 20 years, with hundreds of thousands of U.S. government subscribers utilizing Iridium push-to-talk (PTT), voice, IoT, L-band broadband and Iridium Burst services.