MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) today announces that it has been awarded a contract with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to support the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Enhanced Mobile Satellite Service (EMSS) Gateway in Hawaii. The Gateway Maintenance and Support Service (GMSS) contract value for the initial year is $7.2 million with four additional one-year options available for a potential total value of $38 million. The DoD's Iridium EMSS gateway serves as a dedicated portal for the uplink and downlink of mission-critical voice and data traffic through Iridium's satellite network for DoD users and their federal partners. Upgrades and maintenance performed on the gateway will support the renewed, five-year EMSS contract Iridium was awarded by DISA this month and will ensure it operates effectively to handle the network's current capabilities as well as the enhanced services that will become available with Iridium NEXT -- the Company's next generation satellite constellation scheduled for first launch in early 2015. "Iridium is proud to serve as the only mobile satellite services company offering complete coverage over the entire globe, uniquely positioning us to support the mission-critical communications of our U.S. government customers," said Scott Scheimreif, executive vice president of government programs for Iridium. "The DoD's dedicated gateway allows for direct connectivity into their Defense Switch Network (DSN) providing a critical level of operational security for their users. Our gateway work will include upgrades and maintenance supporting the DoD's use of the Iridium ® network, particularly as we anticipate demand increasing to service their global voice, low and high-speed data, paging and Distributed Tactical Communication Services (DTCS) needs." Iridium NEXT will maintain the existing Iridium constellation mesh architecture of 66 cross-linked Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellites and include six in-orbit spares – all providing coverage over the entire Earth's surface, including Polar Regions. It will deliver more bandwidth and higher data speeds to support powerful new devices with enhanced voice quality, further extending Iridium's ability to service the communications needs of more than 300 government and commercial partners.