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Definition: Iridium

(Iridium Communications Inc., Bethesda, MD, www.iridium.com) A satellite phone service that provides global coverage using handheld phones and low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Data access is available at 1.4 Mbps. Announced in 1990 and completed in 1998 at a cost of $6 billion, Iridium was the first global satellite phone. Iridium LLC went into Chapter 11 in August 1999, and in late 2000, Iridium Satellite LLC was formed to resurrect the system. See LEO and Globalstar.