Eccentric Orbits: The Iridium Story (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews


The detailed history of satellite phones may sound like a subject better suited to an MBA class than a fast paced story to read on a plane, but prepare to be amazed. Bloom’s retelling of the idea, creation, and near destruction of one of mankind’s greatest achievement is packed full of corporate espionage, cold war negotiations, and very rich people spending their money on the most extreme ideas.

— Justin, Atlanta

Description


In the early 1990s, Motorola, the legendary American radio and telecom company, made a huge gamble on a revolutionary satellite telephone system called Iridium. Light-years ahead of anything previously put into space, built on technology for Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars," Iridium was a mind-boggling technical accomplishment that sent waves of panic through phone companies around the world, because, surely, Iridium was the future of communication. Only months after launching service, bankruptcy was inevitable--the largest to that point in American history. It looked like Iridium would go down as just a "science experiment."

That is, until Dan Colussy got a wild idea. Colussy, a retired former President of Pan Am, heard about Motorola's plans to "de-orbit" the system and decided he would try to buy Iridium. Somehow, the little guy figured he could turn around one of the biggest blunders in the history of business.

Eccentric Orbits masterfully traces the development of satellite technology, the birth of Iridium, and Colussy's tireless efforts to stop it from being destroyed, despite having doors slammed in his face by all of Wall Street. Piecing together funding from a motley group of investors that included a mysterious Arab prince and friends of Jesse Jackson, he eventually made his case before the most powerful people at the Clinton White House, the Pentagon, the FCC, intelligence services, and a consortium of thirty banks, pleading for the only phone that works at the ends of earth. Eccentric Orbits is a rollicking, unforgettable tale of innovation, failure, the military-industrial complex, and one of the greatest deals of all time.

About the Author


John Bloom is a veteran investigative journalist, a three-time finalist for the National Magazine Award, and a Pulitzer Prize nominee. He was a long-time columnist for the New York Times Syndicate and has written for Rolling Stone, Playboy, Newsweek, and The Village Voice, among many other publications. He is the author of nine books, including Evidence of Love, which won the Edgar Allan Poe Award and was made into an Emmy-winning film. Bloom has also written several books of humor and film criticism and hosted several television shows as his alter ego, Joe Bob Briggs. He lives in New York City.


Product Details
ISBN: 9780802126788
ISBN-10: 0802126782
Publisher: Grove Press
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Pages: 560
Language: English