Satellite Phone, Iridium

Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

Collection Item Summary:

This phone was developed as an integral part of a space-based communications system called Iridium, which began operation in 1998. Conceived, designed, and built by Motorola, the Iridium system provides wireless, mobile communications through a network of 66 satellites in polar, low-Earth orbits. Hand-held mobile phones, such as this one, link directly to the satellite network (via the antenna on the top of the phone), allowing users to communicate nearly anywhere in the world--a first in the history of telephony. As of 2007, the network still is in operation.

This phone, built by Motorola, was introduced in 1998 when Iridium initiated service and was donated by Iridium Operating LLC to the Museum in 2000.