Iridium Communications Inc.
(formerly Iridium Satellite LLC) is a company, based in McLean, Virginia
, United States which operates the Iridium satellite constellation
, a system of 66 active satellites used for worldwide voice and data communication from hand-held satellite phones
and other transceiver units. The Iridium network is unique in that it covers the whole Earth
, including poles, oceans and airways. The company derives its name from the chemical element iridium
. The number of satellites projected in the early stages of planning was 77, the atomic number
of iridium, evoking the metaphor of 77 electrons orbiting the nucleus; however 95 satellites have been launched so far; the atomic number