Satellite communications CEO describes ‘synergistic’ relationship with SpaceX

Satellite communications leader, Matt Desch, praised Elon Musk and his company SpaceX for making space exploration affordable, saying it helped bring wireless communications to a truly global scale.

Desch, who is the chief executive officer of Iridium Communications, said that Iridium is Space X’s “largest commercial customer,” and credits the two companies “synergistic” relationship for helping the company launch seven groups of satellites into space, with an eighth group slated to be deployed in December.

“The drivers and the innovation that Space X is doing is similar to what Iridium is doing and we kind of play off each other in terms of being synergistic,” Desch told “Rising” Hill.TV co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on Friday.

“I don’t think we would have been able to get these 75 new satellites into space over the last two years if it hadn’t been for the cost effective transport system that Space X has created,” the CEO added.

Iridium operates a constellation of satellites, which are used for worldwide voice and data communication that reaches some of the remote areas of the globe. The network also aims to provide uninterrupted connectivity even when local systems down such as during natural disasters.

Once the exclusive domain of governmental agencies like The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), space has become a final frontier for big business around the world.

Private space companies like SpaceX and competitors are developing their own launch pads, vehicles and reusable rockets making space travel much cheaper.

“Commercial companies can scale the technologies down to a point where it can be afforded by venture capital and private equity investments of all kinds coming into this industry,” Desch told Hill.TV.

But the move of big business into space is not only disrupting the space industry – he argues it’s also disrupting communication networks on the ground.

“A lot of things are connecting that had never been connected before, so we think about autonomous cars, vehicles and drones and those sorts of things,” he said.

Musk aims to land a rocket ship on Mars by 2022 – and Desch said he hopes to be a part of the ambitious goal, saying “we’d love to be able to provide the communications system for Mars when the time comes.”

Dersch joined Rising as part of Hill.TV’s New Workforce ongoing series, which is sponsored by ZipRecruiter.

— Tess Bonn