/// Seven Questions for Iridium CEO Matthew Desch — Yes, That Iridium
More often than not, the Iridium satellite phone system is remembered as one of the great telecom flameouts of the 1990s. It almost became a literal one: At one point following a 1999 bankruptcy, the 70 or more satellites that make up the system were scheduled to de-orbit and burn up in the atmosphere, in what would have been a fiery denouement of Iridium’s epic bankruptcy case. That didn’t happen. In 2001, at what was very nearly the last minute, a group of private investors nabbed the assets of the old Motorola-backed concern for fractions of a penny on the dollar, and kept the satellite phone service running. The timing was right. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, which led to wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, ensured that the U.S.