With exactEarth and Aireon, Harris confronts difficulties of commercial hosted payloads

by Peter B. de Selding

PARIS — The difficulties of two young companies using spare space on the Iridium Next constellation suggests how difficult the hosted-payload business is and why Orbital ATK, despite paying Iridium $10 million for the privilege, ultimately abandoned the idea.

Harris Corp. took up the work after having contracted separately with Aireon, the startup global aircraft-tracking service, to build Aireon payloads to be fitted on all 81 Iridium Next satellites.

Harris subsequently contracted with Iridium to manage the entire hosted-payload opportunity on Iridium Next, designing what Harris calls . . .

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