SELEX Galileo awarded contract to provide 250 star trackers for Iridium NEXT

Rome, 8 March 2011

SELEX Galileo, a Finmeccanica Company, has been awarded a contract to provide
approximately 250 star tracker attitude sensors for the Iridium NEXT programme, Iridium’s next-generation satellite constellation estimated to begin launching in 2015.
Fabrizio Giulianini, SELEX Galileo CEO, said “This contract represents a major success for
SELEX Galileo. It recognises the Company’s leadership in advanced Space technology, and
will strengthen our relationship with prime contractors in the Space sector. The award for
Iridium NEXT will allow us to develop a new type of star tracker that delivers high
performance at an even more competitive cost.”
The Iridium NEXT constellation will include 81 satellites (66 operational low-Earth orbiting satellites to replace the current constellation; 6 in-orbit spare satellites and 9 ground spares) that will gradually replace the existing Iridium constellation, providing continuous network coverage over the Earth’s surface. Thales Alenia Space is the prime contractor for the programme, responsible for the engineering, system integration and supply of the satellites.

SELEX Galileo will develop three star trackers for each satellite for a total of 250. The star
trackers will mount to the body of the satellites to determine the orientation of the satellite. The star trackers delivered under this contract will be a simplified version of the Company’s AA-STR, designed specifically for this constellation.
SELEX Galileo is a global leader in the field of attitude sensors. The sensors are on-board
hundreds of missions and have never had a failure in flight.
Notes to the editors
As with the Company’s AA-STR, the Iridium NEXT attitude sensors are based on a new detector technology called APS, which integrates many functions previously performed by a large number of electronic components. Furthermore, by collaborating with the engineers at Thales Alenia Space, SELEX Galileo’s team was able to introduce the “star tracker” functions onto the satellite computer present on board which will manage the software and algorithms of the actual Star Trackers. This has made it possible to significantly simplify the product, reducing the time and cost of its integration.


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