John Irving Bloom: The greatest satellite story you’ve never heard

John Irving Bloom: “Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story” | Talks at Google

Published on Aug 9, 2016

Veteran investigative journalist John Bloom tells the greatest satellite story you’ve never heard, with special guests Dr. Ray Leopold and Dan Colussy.

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The Iridium satellite constellation–dreamed up by Dr. Ray Leopold and co. in the ’90s–was intended to provide a cellular phone with signal at all ends of the Earth. As the dotcom bubble burst, and Motorola struggled to find buyers for its $5 billion project, the Iridium project was almost self-destructed out of orbit. But businessman Dan Colussy had other plans.

1:07formerly a teacher at the Air Force Academy senior staff at the Pentagon a
1:12pure scientists who helped me greatly during the writing of the book and more
1:17than for the point at this gathering the inventor of the Iridium satellite system
1:22the most complex engineering system ever put into space and Ray is the star of
1:31the first half of the book so i would you stand upright so you’re going to
1:37and then we also have been kalu see the savior of a radium after the motorola
1:44corporation threatened to destroy the largest satellite constellation ever
1:49dan is the start of the second half of the book now one of the themes running
1:53through the book is that damn was retired and playing golf in palm beach
1:59when all this happened in fact he was just learning to play golf because when
2:02he was younger he thought golf was just an excuse for businessmen to get off so
2:06we never learned how to play the game but after many years of running airlines
2:10and ear and a corporation called you and see that many of you might be familiar
2:15he promised his wife he wouldn’t be running any more companies and then he
2:19keeps getting sucked back in because he can’t stand to see these satellites
2:24so this is 60 and when he was 69 years old so I i got to know Dan and he helped
2:32greatly with the book because he never throws anything away any piece of paper
2:37that ever crosses his desk he keeps it and so his archive rivals the
2:41Alexandrian library in size but it was a great resource when you’re writing a
2:45book like this where people have faulty memories or they lie about what happened
2:50which is more often the case but anyway
2:53dan might have a fool out of me because now he’s 85 85 years old and he’s
2:58running three companies so it’s not so big a deal that he that he did the
3:02Iridium thing when he was 69 but stand up dan thanks for being here today
3:06and no we have kind of a historic event because these two men had never met
3:16until about one hour ago so but anyway in nineteen ninety at the Hayden
3:23Planetarium in New York City the motorola corporation which at that time
3:28was the most powerful electronics company in the world announced the most
3:33expensive and complicated engineering project in history and it was more
3:38complicated than Los Alamos because that project was only doing one thing and