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One MSS industry leader, Iridium, is implementing a major network upgrade. In June 2010, Iridium selected France’s Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor for its second-generation satellite constellation, named Iridium NEXT. The upgraded network will consist of ## active and ## spare satellites, scheduled for launch between 2015 and 2017.[
GEO satellites can allow a signal to be beamed over a wide fixed coverage area, with the potential to reach a third of the Earth’s surface. They are thus ideal for FSS operators, who often use them to send a single data stream to many stationary antennas in one or more continents. FSS satellites provide DTH video or internet services, corporate network connectivity, broadcast video distribution, and secure communications for the military. Of the ## total active satellites in 2012, ## are communications satellites.
Another MSS industry leader is Iridium, which operates a LEO constellation of ## active satellites to provide global coverage. The Iridium constellation uses intersatellite links to route network traffic directly between spacecraft, avoiding the need for multiple hops between space and ground to relay signals around the world. Like Inmarsat, Iridium is significantly upgrading its network to reach new customer bases with new technology.