Iridium and Stratos Provide Satellite Communications for Around the Americas Sailing Expedition

BETHESDA, Md. - July 6, 2009 - Iridium Satellite LLC (Iridium) and Stratos Global Corp. (Stratos) have teamed to provide satellite communication equipment and services for the "Around the Americas" sailing expedition, which got underway from Seattle on May 31, 2009. Stratos installed an Iridium OpenPort® high-bandwidth marine satcom system on the expedition's 64-foot steel-hull sailboat, Ocean Watch. The system is providing voice and high-speed data connections throughout the 13-month, 25,000-mile circumnavigation of the North and South American continents.

Around the Americas is a research expedition that will collect scientific data and test new methods and equipment - all to raise awareness of the precipitous changes that are occurring in the earth's oceans and to promote solutions to mitigate those changes.

Ten scientists from the University of Washington's Applied Physics Laboratory (UW-APL), the Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean (JISAO), RMR Co., MIT Sea Grant, NASA and Western Washington University have placed a diverse suite of instruments onboard Ocean Watch to monitor polar science, weather, jellyfish populations and solar-energy reflection, among other conservation projects.

"Since Iridium is the only service that can provide voice and data coverage throughout our entire voyage, Iridium OpenPort will serve as our primary communication device and critical lifeline to the outside world," said Around the Americas expedition leader Mark Schrader. "This high-performance system will give us access to enhanced-bandwidth satellite voice and data links between ship and shore during the course of our voyage/expedition. The Iridium OpenPort terminal will enable us to transmit reports, blogs and images to the thousands of people who will follow our voyage on the Internet, as well as speak to our families during this long journey."

Greg Ewert, Iridium's executive vice president, Global Distribution Channels, said, "Iridium OpenPort is a breakthrough product for the maritime market, as it is the only truly global high-bandwidth mobile satellite system. The Iridium OpenPort system has gone through a rigorous testing program, both onshore and afloat on a variety of platforms. As a result, it has a robust, proven system that operates reliably in the marine environment, even on smaller vessels with high-dynamic rolling and pitching motions."

Stratos senior vice president, sales and marketing, Ronald Spithout said, "During the boat's navigation of the Northwest Passage from the Pacific to Atlantic this summer, it will be sailing at very high latitudes. Iridium is the only satellite system that can ensure dependable, uninterrupted communication in those waters."

Ocean Watch will sail around the American continents in a clockwise direction, transiting the Northwest Passage, sailing down the East Coast, around Cape Horn, and back up the West Coast, returning to Seattle in July 2010. Notably, this will be one of the first times a sailboat has navigated through the Northwest Passage from west to east.

Over the course of the voyage, Ocean Watch will visit 30 ports in 11 countries where the crew will host media events and educational programs for local schools to educate citizens about issues affecting conservation of the earth's oceans. A real-time map of the voyage can be found at, as can information on Ocean Watch, the crew, the expedition's partners and more.

The Iridium OpenPort terminal has three independent phone circuits and a separate high-speed data port with scalable rates of 9.6 to 128 kbps. The lightweight, omni-directional antenna array is about the size of a typical small boat radar radome. It contains no moving parts, which greatly reduces cabling, installation and maintenance costs.

About Iridium Satellite LLC
Iridium Satellite LLC ( is the only mobile satellite service (MSS) company offering coverage over the entire globe. The Iridium constellation of low-earth orbiting (LEO), cross-linked satellites provides critical voice and data services for areas not served by terrestrial communication networks. Iridium's subscriber growth has been driven by increasing demand for reliable, global communications. Iridium serves commercial and government markets through a worldwide network of hundreds of distributors. The company's customers represent a broad spectrum of industry, including maritime, aeronautical, government/defense, public safety, utilities, oil/gas, mining, forestry, heavy equipment and transportation. Iridium has launched a major development program for its next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT, which will result in continued and new Iridium MSS offerings. The company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., U.S., and is currently privately held.

About Stratos
Stratos is the world's trusted leader for vital communications. Stratos offers the most powerful and extensive portfolio of remote communications solutions including mobile and fixed satellite and microwave services. More than 20,000 customers use Stratos products and industry-leading value-added services to optimize communications performance. Stratos serves U.S. and international government, military, first responder, NGO, oil and gas, industrial, maritime, aeronautical, enterprise, and media users on seven continents and across the world's oceans. Stratos is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Inmarsat plc. For more information, visit

For additional information :
Carla Riggs
Director, Corporate Communications
+1 709 748 4857