In 1998, Iridium switched on the world’s first global telephone service, utilizing a constellation of 66 interconnected satellites operating in six low-Earth-orbit planes. Less than a year later, the company went bankrupt and took its place in history as one of the worst business blunders of the 1990s. But Iridium’s satellites have proven more resilient than its original business plan. Designed by Motorola to last five years, most of the spacecraft are still operating or have ...

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