Iridium Communications announced that it received "in excess of $1.8 billion of commitments from a syndicate of preeminent international banks" in connection with the credit facility that will be used to finance the construction of the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium Next.
Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor for the project, which consists of 81 low-earth orbiting communications satellites with first launch in early 2015. Iridium expects to sign the credit facility in September and close shortly thereafter.
In May Iridium announced an agreement with JetBlue Airways' subsidiary LiveTV to develop an aviation antenna enabling global connectivity for airline passengers and flight crew. The antenna is "based on the Iridium OpenPort high-speed communications service" for the maritime sector. Commercial rollout is expected early in 2011. The solution provides up to 128 kbps and three voice channels.