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Iridium Unveils New Ground Station in Chile

By Annamarie Nyirady | March 28, 2019
Iridium's new ground station in Punta Arenas, Chile. Photo: Iridium

Iridium’s new ground station in Punta Arenas, Chile. Photo: Iridium

Iridium Communications unveiled its new southern hemisphere ground station, located in Punta Arenas, Chile. The addition of the Punta Arenas teleport network site adds geographic diversity to Iridium’s ground stations as its only southern hemisphere site, establishing a new layer of network redundancy for the constellation. The Punta Arenas site was built in partnership with Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) of Norway, a long-time Iridium partner in supporting celestial-to-terrestrial connectivity.

The Punta Arenas site now joins existing operational Iridium commercial ground stations in Fairbanks, Alaska; Svalbard, Norway and Tempe, Arizona. Due to the Iridium constellation’s crosslinked satellite architecture featuring six orbital planes with 11 operational satellites per plane, the network provides a web of coverage around the entire planet, with minimal need for local infrastructure or ground stations. Iridium recently completed its $3 billion satellite upgrade campaign known as Iridium Next and launched the world’s first global broadband service, which is designed for specialized applications, Iridium Certus.

“We’d like to thank our partners at KSAT and the Chilean government for helping us add this important southern hemisphere ground station to the Iridium network,” said Iridium Vice President (VP) of Satellite Operations and Ground Development Walt Everetts. “This move essentially creates a southern doorway for us to both access our satellites for any Telemetry, Tracking, and Control (TTAC)-related needs and to deliver data or carry phone calls, to and from terrestrial networks, through our primary commercial gateway.”