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Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) IRIDIUM

The EMSS Gateway was a commercially developed system established initially to serve as a downlink point for the commercial Iridium system. After Iridium went bankrupt the US Government purchased the gateway for DoD use. In fielding the DoD implementation of Iridium (named Enhanced Mobile Satellite Service (EMSS)). These systems have been developed and implemented by the Iridium Satellite Limited Liability Corporation (ISLLC).

The Iridium System is the first commercially available, cross-linked, pole-to-pole global Mobile Satellite System (MSS). It is a satellite-based, global wireless personal communications network designed to permit any type of narrow band wireless transmission (i.e.; voice, data, fax, or paging) to reach its destination nearly anywhere on Earth.

The Iridium network consists of a space segment employing a constellation of 66 satellites in six evenly spaced, nearly polar orbital planes, about 420 nautical miles above the Earth's surface. By linking the satellites and terrestrial gateways, the system provides global access and coverage through specially designed portable and mobile telephones. Seamless connectivity to cellular systems anywhere in the world is provided to phones equipped with an optional cellular Cassette.

An Iridium gateway links the orbiting Iridium constellation with the various terrestrial telecommunication systems located within the gateway's territory. It enables subscribers to call and receive calls (unless barred) from non-Iridium telephones throughout the world and provides a "home" where the subscriber's location and calling activity are discretely captured and monitored.

The Iridium system was owned and operated by Iridium LLC, a private international consortium of leading telecommunication and industrial companies. Motorola is the exclusive supplier of the gateways that interconnect the Iridium satellite network with the various terrestrial Public (and Private) Switched Telephone Networks (PSTNs) and cellular telephone systems throughout the world. Iridium Satellite LLC purchased the operating assets of Iridium LLC and its existing subsidiaries, pursuant to a Nov. 22, 2000 order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Under the agreement, Iridium Satellite LLC will purchase all of the existing assets of Iridium LLC, including its constellation of low-orbiting satellites and its satellite control network, and will have Boeing operate the system.

On December 05, 2000 the Department of Defense, through its Defense Information Systems Agency, awarded Iridium Satellite LLC of Arnold, Md., a $72 million contract for 24 months of satellite communications services. This contract would provide unlimited airtime for 20,000 government users over the Iridium satellite network. The contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $252 million and extend the period of performance to December 2007.

The Department took this action because the Iridium system offers state-of-the-art technology. It features on-satellite signal processing and inter-satellite crosslinks allowing satellite-mode service to any open area on earth. It provides mobile, cryptographically secure telephone services to small handsets anywhere on the globe, pole-to-pole, 24 hours a day. The system and its DoD enhancements will provide handheld service currently not available.

Since the Navy has a requirement more than twice as large as the current capability, the Department of Defense needs the capacity Iridium uniquely offers small unit operations in areas without satellite constellation coverage or during periods when various assets are being used in other contingencies. Special Forces operations, combat search and rescue activities and polar communications will also be enhanced. Iridium will provide a unique resource to enhance DoD mobile satellite communications requirements. The new "bulk rate" service agreement offered and accepted by the Department stands to provide the same critical augmentation capability at substantially cheaper rates.

For MSS customers, DOD has established a dedicated Government MSS gateway in Wahiawa, Hawaii for government use through the Defense Information System Network (DISN). Through this gateway EMSS subscribers will have direct connection into the DISN, which is capable of providing secure services, in addition to providing non-secure access to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

DISA contracted with Motorola to provide EMSS services to DoD and other Federal agencies. The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO) will establish the necessary accounts (designated by a Program Designator Code) with which to bill government end users.

Provisioning EMSS equipment and services is accomplished through DoD's process for procuring telecommunications services, managed by the Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO). The requester is responsible for completing the approval actions as specified in the Service/Agency EMSS approval procedures.

The 1st Marine Division G-6 began the procurement of IRIDIUM Telephones (at approximately $4000 per phone to include the secure sleeve) in the summer of 2002. Initially 6 IRIDIUM phones were procured to support the CG, ADC, 1st, 5th, 7th, and 11th Marine Commanding Officers. Over the next several months many more phones were procured to the point that the 1st Marine Division (Rein) had 77 IRIDIUM Phones in use to support of the Division. These phones were instrumental in augmenting tactical communication support. At times, due to the limitations of tactical equipment not being able to operate on the move (i.e. SMART-T, UHF TACSAT, and HF Radio Communications), IRIDIUM phones and Blue Force Tracker were the only available means of communications until units stopped and had the time to set up their tactical communications equipment.

All IRIDIUM Phones procured by the Division Commands should have locally assigned TAMCNs for accounting on a CMR and with the EKMS Custodian (due to secure sleeves). Commands will be responsible for coordinating funding support for the monthly reoccurring costs or for suspending phone services not required to support training operations. The IRIDIUM Phones and the Secure Sleeves need to be maintained within the Division Commands for future use as required. IRIDIUM Pagers (also procured by the Division) were used for text messages during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In the future the Division will use IRIDIUM Pagers to receive off-line encrypted brevity code text messages via NIPRNET messaging. This will provide yet another means of secure communications for the Division to pass along Commanders Intent down to at least the Regiment and Battalion Level - a capability that will be trained to in future.

The EMSS contract provides a full range of Iridium satellite and ancillary equipment to be used with Iridium satellite airtime service, for instance, the purchase of Iridium telephones, pagers, secure modules, ancillary equipment and active or inactive Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards. Telephones can be used worldwide except for four countries: Hungary, Poland, North Korea and North Sri Lanka. With proper encryption loaded, one Iridium telephone to another Iridium telephone has Top Secret capability. An Iridium telephone also allows a Secret connection to a desktop telephone, and plans are underway to eventually provide a Top Secret capability. Lead times are seven to 14 days.

The EMSS Iridium Handset Series 9505 satellite telephone is a lightweight, handheld FNBDT compatible device designed to provide users worldwide secure voice connectivity in mobile environments as well as secure voice connectivity to desktop STU-IIIs and compatible equipment (e.g. STEs).

On July 30, 2018 Iridium Communications Inc. announced that the 10 Iridium NEXT satellites launched on 25 July 2018, by SpaceX are functioning nominally and have begun the testing and validation process. The launch brought the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in orbit to 65, leaving just one more launch of 10 satellites to complete the Iridium NEXT launch program. "It's incredible that we only have one more Iridium NEXT launch to go," said Scott Smith, chief operating officer at Iridium. "Since Wednesday's launch, the team is focused on settling these 10 new satellites into their designated slots, all in plane five. Once we are done with this batch, plane five will be comprised of all Iridium NEXT satellites, and we will be ready and waiting for the final launch of this historic program."

The Iridium constellation is comprised of six polar orbiting planes, each containing 11 operational crosslinked satellites, for a total of 66 satellites in the active constellation. This unique architecture creates a web of coverage around the earth, enabling Iridium to provide real-time communications over the oceans and from even the most remote locations. One more Iridium NEXT launch is scheduled for 2018, which will bring Iridium's total number of new satellites in orbit to 75, including nine spares. A total of 81 satellites are being built, including 66 operational, nine on-orbit spares and six ground spares.

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Page last modified: 10-01-2019 17:27:44 ZULU