MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) announces the first turnkey hosted payload solution, Iridium PRIME SM, to host third-party payloads on stand-alone satellites leveraging the global connectivity afforded by the Iridium NEXT satellite network. The Iridium PRIME program revolutionizes the hosted payload business model with an integrated service which reduces the complexity, delays and costs typically associated with building, launching and operating a satellite mission. (A full presentation with more detail on Iridium PRIME is located at www.iridium.com/iridiumPRIME .) With a growing demand for additional hosted payload opportunities, a proven track record as a leader in the industry and the opportunity to leverage the investment and learning costs from Iridium NEXT, Iridium is uniquely positioned to offer commercial and government payload customers a turnkey solution for all elements of a successful hosted payload mission including launch, ground infrastructure, two-way payload control, high-speed inter-satellite links and global coverage. Iridium PRIME offsets the traditional challenges of hosted payload missions which include inflexible launch schedules, 'one-off' mission control systems and ground connectivity challenges by providing customers access to a proven end-to-end satellite constellation with complete flexibility on the number of payloads they deploy, number of planes they occupy, and independent mission control with a cost savings of 50 percent or more compared to current stand-alone solutions. While the Iridium NEXT hosted payload space is now fully allocated to two entities, Aireon LLC for its space-based aircraft surveillance application and Harris Corporation for additional auxiliary payloads, Iridium PRIME offers customers a new approach. Customers can use a whole satellite's payload capacity, or just share that capacity with other applications and customers that Iridium brings together. Potential missions include earth observation, terrethomstrial and space-based weather monitoring, communications support including advanced broadband services, Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking and other government missions. Iridium PRIME provides flexible scheduling to launch whenever payloads are ready, starting as early as fourth quarter 2017, allowing customers longer lead times for budgeting their hosted payload missions.