Re: Iridium

Date: Mon Mar 20 2000 - 09:23:27 PST

  • Next message: Dale Ireland: "Re: Iridium"

    Slightly off topic but a result of the recent Iridium collapse.
    Mon, Mar 20th
    Polar Explorers On Canadian Trek Isolated By Phone Collapse
    OSLO (Reuters) - Two Norwegians trekking across the Arctic via the North 
    Pole face isolation with the collapse of the $5 billion Iridium satellite
    telephone network, a spokesman said Monday. Rune Gjeldnes and Torry Larsen,
    trying to become the first people to ski from Russia to Canada via the North
    Pole hauling sledges, will be unable to talk to the outside world when the
    Iridium satellites fall from orbit.
    ``They're prepared to be cut off. They're in a good mood,'' Norwegian 
    expedition spokesman Gunnar Vetlejord said, adding they had previously 
    crossed Greenland with no phone. Iridium LLC failed to find a rescuer from
    bankruptcy Friday. Its 66 satellites will burn up when they fall from orbit.
    A French rower trying to cross the Pacific, Jo Le Guen, is also among those
    cut off, organizers said Saturday. ``The main disadvantage will be that we
    can't tell them about the weather or ice conditions based on satellite
    photographs,'' Vetlejord said. ``And we can't give them news, encouragement
    or pass on questions from home.''
    The two Norwegians set out from northern Siberia on February 16 and aim to
    pass the North Pole at the end of April and reach Ward Hunt Island in Canada
    in June. The still have an emergency beacon to transmit their position, but
    cannot receive any data. Vetlejord told Reuters that organizers had hoped to
    use the phones, for instance, to tell the pair to change course when
    satellite photographs showed big gaps in the ice. With no warning system,
    the two may have to make bigger detours. One advantage of the collapse of
    the network was that the two would be able to throw away phones and
    batteries, weighing several kilos (lbs), from their heavy sledges.
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