The DownLink [Dec 11, 2021] Iridium 33 – A Story for This Moment


This week on The DownLink, Laura Winter speaks with Iridium Communications, Inc. CEO Matt Desch to discuss what he hopes will remain a rare story – the hypersonic bust-up of his company’s satellite in orbit. Many who serve the defense policy-making ecosystem, here in the United States and within multinational organizations are coming to better appreciate the fragile nature of the near-earth space environment. Nevertheless, debris and junk traveling orbiting the earth at hypersonic speeds feels somewhat academic, even with last month’s Russian anti-satellite missile test. Putting the Russia-Ukraine crisis to the side, but not completely out of view, Desch tells the story of the Iridium-33 and gives us his take on what policy-makers, leaders, and space operators need to do to preserve our freedom of action – a.k.a the ability to project power over the horizon – in low earth orbit.

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