recommended reading

DISA Keeps Iridium Satellite Access With $438 Million in New Contracts

Wikimedia Commons

Military and other federal users will continue to have access over the next five years to the Iridium satellite constellation, which supports handheld phones, through a set of contracts worth $438 million that the Defense Information Systems Agency signed with the company this month.

DISA awarded Iridium a $400 million airtime contract on Oct. 18 and on Tuesday signed a $38 million deal with the company to for maintenance and support of the DISA-owned satellite gateway located on Wahiawa, Honolulu, Hawaii and first turned on in 1998.

The airtime contract covers voice and low data rate service at a speed of 2,400 bits per second. Iridium also offers deployed forces a service called the Distributed Tactical Communications System, which provides “push-to-talk” radio-type service

Iridium, developed by Motorola in the late 1990s failed commercially due to the widespread growth of the mobile phone industry. But its constellation of 66 low earth orbit satellites  provide military and federal users with unique  global coverage – including the poles – not available from geosynchronous satellites parked 23,000 miles above the earth.

The low orbit also enables the use of handheld phones, rather than receivers which require a bulky antenna.  Space News reported that Iridium had 39,000 federal voice servicer users in 2012.

Iridium plans to replace its existing constellation in 2015 with new satellites that will support higher but unspecified data rates, machine-to-machine communications and a system that can track aircraft anywhere in the world using GPS-based technology the FAA is building into its Next Generation Air Transportation System.

Iridium said its DISA gateway contract will support the new satellites. 

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.