Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM): Completes Extensive Testing Program for Panel Design
Dallas, Texas, 09/23/2014 (ustrademedia) – Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) today announced to complete an extensive testing program for its new design of solar panel intended for the Iridium NEXT constellation. The company announced the achievement of yet another milestone with successful qualification of its new power system, which is designed to improve performance while reducing costs. The innovative system comprises four solar panels, spanning 9.4 m when fully extended. The new panel was developed by the global leaders Spectrolab and MELCO (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation). Spectrolab specializes in manufacturing of high-efficiency multi-junction space solar panels and cells. MELCO is a leading supplier of light weight solar panel substrates. Both the companies are part of the Iridium NEXT Mission Team, which is led by Thales Alenia Space, European satellite manufacturer.
Chief Operating Officer at Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM), Scott Smith expressed that the completion of successful qualification testing marks an important milestone in Iridium’s journey to launching Iridium NEXT in 2015. The innovation in the solar panels design demonstrates how the company is rethinking every aspect of the constellation with improved performance, efficiency and longevity.
The new design was put through a tough life test and qualification program to make sure that it works to specification using sample sections of the actual panels. The design verification test was used to check electrical and mechanical configuration with a simulation of low earth orbit charging environment.
Technical and Testing Details
Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM)’s new solar arrays are powered by larger solar cells that yield 50 percent more cell surface area as compared to the cells used in the current constellation. The new array was tested to 1.5 times its planned lifespan in space, and the cells were put through 75,000 thermal cycles. The Iridium NEXT constellation will offer high-quality service for its customers with a greater data speeds and bandwidth once it will be fully operational in 2017.