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Preview – Iridium CEO Defends Economic Viability of LEO Constellations

By | August 15, 2008

      [Satellite News 08-15-08] The CEOs of Inmarsat and Iridium have made it very clear that the two companies are direct and heated competitors. Andy Sukawaty, CEO of Inmarsat, has commented publicly on what he believes is the economic instability of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations – comments which Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium, has taken exception to.
          “It is a silly argument that Andy likes to make,” said Desch. “But it is not making much of an impact on our business results. Regardless of these comments, our company is growing at 30-plus percent.”
          In an interview with Via Satellite associate editor Mark Holmes, Sukawaty said that the concept of LEO constellations is flawed.
          “I would not throw stones at other people’s business plans at this stage, but the one I will throw stones at is the [low-Earth orbit satellite] operator … they are too expensive and will offer the same applications that [geostationary satellites] will serve,” said Sukawaty.
      Satellite News gave Desch an opportunity to respond.

      An interview with Iridium’s CEO Matt Desch can be found in the Satellite News premium section of For more information about subscribing to Access Intelligence’s premium content, please go to

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