Satellite firm Iridium is planning a new Internet of Things (IoT) and direct-to-device (D2D) service.

The company this week announced Project Stardust, its new D2D strategy with 3GPP 5G standards-based Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) Non-Terrestrial Network (NB-NTN) service development.

– Iridium Communications

Stardust is described as a new standards-based solution to be deployed on Iridium's 66 existing L-Band Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. Iridium said this will give the company the ability to offer proprietary and standardized D2D and IoT services to its customers.

Iridium is designing its initial NB-IoT offering to support 5G NTN messaging and SOS capabilities for smartphones, tablets, cars, and related consumer applications. The company anticipates testing to begin in 2025, with service in 2026.

The satellite firm said it is already collaborating with smartphone companies, OEMs, chipmakers, mobile network operators (MNO), and related IoT developers to have their requirements woven into the Iridium network, and wants more to join to understand and incorporate their use cases, requirements, and end-user needs into its planned service.

"This is an exciting moment for Iridium and is a testament to the flexibility and capability built into our satellite constellation," said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. "The industry is moving quickly towards a more standards-based approach, and after surveying the field, we found that we're the best positioned to lead the way using our own network, particularly given our truly global coverage."

The Iridium network supports approximately 1,300 SOS and emergency (911 or equivalent) incidents per year globally.

In other satellite news:

Sateliot has raised €6 million ($6.6.m) from Banco Santander to accelerate the development of its technology and the deployment of its satellite constellation. The company also recently secured a €2.5 million ($2.7m) participatory loan from Avança.

Maritime communications form KVH has signed a distribution deal with Eutelsat’s OneWeb to provide satellite connectivity to commercial and leisure vessels.

Thailand’s state telco National Telecom (NT) has finished building a satellite ground station for OneWeb in Ubon Ratchathani province.

Malaysian communications provider MEASAT has signed a distribution deal with SpaceX’s Starlink.

Starlink has sent its first text messages using its new direct-to-cell satellites.

Telenor has completed the sale of its satellite subsidiary to Space Norway.

Microsoft has signed a new Azure cloud partnership with satellite connectivity firm Mangata Networks to develop AI-enabled Edge cloud products connected via satellite.