Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) has announced the restructuring of their longstanding operations and maintenance relationship with Boeing.
Under the agreement, Iridium is expected to hire the majority of the Boeing team that currently supports Iridium by performing operations and maintenance on Iridium’s satellites, starting on January 3, 2017. In addition, Iridium will enter into a separate development services contract with Boeing.
This change comes as Iridium NEXT, the company’s nexgen satellite constellation, nears its first launch and the start of the transition to a new Iridium® satellite constellation. Iridium will more directly manage its network and optimize operational expenses going forward, while the new development contract will dedicate key Boeing personnel to continue the design and growth required for bringing new services and capabilities into the Iridium NEXT era.
This group of individuals helped launch the world’s largest and only truly global commercial LEO satellite constellation and played an integral role in maintaining its performance for nearly two decades, helping Iridium grow to nearly 840,000 subscribers. This team also has the most real-world experience in operating a commercial LEO constellation. Additionally, they helped develop innovative ways to expand network capabilities over the years such as advancing functionality from voice to broadband and machine-to-machine (M2M) data services, ultimately creating new capabilities and services for partners.
Affected Boeing employees currently working on operations and maintenance of the Iridium satellite constellation will be offered positions within Iridium and are expected to join Iridium as employees in January, timed to help usher the Company into this new chapter in its history with Iridium NEXT.
Matt Desch, the CEO at Iridium, indicated that the Boeing operations team has been an incredibly vital group to Iridium since the year 2000, and the company is excited to welcome them into the Iridium employee family. Many of them have been supporting Iridium since the launch of Iridium’s original network, and it is only fitting that they join Iridium as employees to ensure the successful operation, maintenance and development of our next-generation global network.
Mark Spiwak, president for Boeing Satellite Systems International, added that this transition will help ensure a seamless continuation of ground and operational support, by both companies, for Iridium’s current and next generation constellation.