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Iridium hole plugged after satellite smash-up

Iridium even has spare satellites orbiting the Earth

Satellite phone users worried about the effect of the destruction of one of the Iridium orbiters this week can breathe easy now, as the company has already plugged the gap in its network.

The collision above the Arctic with a Russian military satellite left Iridium with a hole in its satellite phone network that it has moved quickly to repair.

Mesh design

A statement from the company's Liz DeCastro explained: "The Iridium service hole patch addresses a significant portion of outages that customers otherwise might have experienced. Due to the mesh design of the Iridium network, the company expects further impact to customers to be limited."

The next stage for the US communications firm will be to redirect one of its spare satellites already in orbit to replace the destroyed original.

Compensation issue

Although it hasn't yet commented, Iridium may also be looking at seeking compensation from the Russian government, as defunct satellites are supposed to be returned to Earth or moved out of the way of functional orbiters.