In February of 2007 Iridium announced the program called “Iridium NEXT.” The NEXT program will replace Iridium’s current satellite constellation with a more power system. Iridium is doing this to insure high quality service for years to come due to an aging constellation. Suppliers for these new satellites are expected to be signed up sometime in 2008. The funding for the NEXT program will largely come from profits of the existing system.
The new 66 cross-linked satellites will be similar to the current system. There will be seamless backward compatibility to the current satellite phones. The new system will interface with power devices that will deliver more bandwidth.
Several camera systems may be placed on the satellites providing real time low resolution images of the Earth to customers.