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Satellites' Days Numbered

August 24, 2000|Bloomberg News

Motorola Inc., the world's No. 2 cell-phone maker, said it will begin destroying Iridium's satellites because the satellite-phone company failed to attract a buyer for its assets. Motorola, founder of the Iridium system, notified the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York this week that it will begin taking the 66 satellites out of orbit on or after Aug. 24, a spokesman said. Iridium filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection last August after the $7-billion project failed to attract enough customers. The company's bulky phones cost as much as $3,000 and were considered unreliable. Motorola said it would take eight to nine months to destroy the satellites. They'll be guided back to Earth and will burn themselves out in the atmosphere. The process could cost as much as $50 million. Shares of Motorola, based in Schaumburg, Ill., were unchanged at $36.50 on the NYSE.

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