Why de-orbit the iridium constellation?

From: L or C Foreman (lcforeman@mindspring.com)
Date: Sat Mar 25 2000 - 04:45:13 PST

  • Next message: Alan Pickup: "Decay watch: 2000 Mar 25"

    I apologize in advance for my ignorance, but I don't understand why the iridium 
    constellation needs to be deorbited just because of financial failure by the 
    Iridium Corp.  It is a sure fact that no potential future earnings can result 
    from de-orbiting the satellites.  I heard it will cost about $50 million/yr for 
    two years to de-orbit them.  I can't imagine that station-keeping can cost that 
    much.  Why not get some speculators together to maintain the constellation on 
    the hope that some market will develop for them in the near future.  Besides 
    telecommunications in the commercial sector, I would think that a number of 
    governments might be interested in using the satellites for relaying data, etc. 
     In light of the expense, and potential liability associated with de-orbiting 
    these 60+ satellites, I am amazed that other alternatives are not economically 
    viable (maybe today's investment market is too strong to put big dollars in 
    something like this, with a higher level of risk than some might see in Wall 
    St.).  -Lincoln.
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