Iridium Provided Satellite Tracking For Snowmobile Race

BETHESDA, MD—Iridium provided real-time satellite data links to track the location and movement of teams participating in the 2007 Tesoro Iron Dog snowmobile race.

Billed as the "World's Longest, Toughest Snowmobile Race," the Tesoro Iron Dog competition began on February 11, 2007. The six-day race covered a 1971-mile route extending from Wasilla on Alaska's south coast to Nome on the west coast and then to the finish line in Fairbanks.

The Iridium-based tracking devices were supplied by World Communication Center (WCC), an Iridium value-added reseller and service provider, in collaboration with Applied Satellite Engineering (ASE) and Ontec Technologies. ASE and Ontec have partnered to develop a Web-based global mobile asset tracking application using the Iridium satellite network.

The ASE SBD Pro tracking module utilizes Iridium's short-burst data service. The unit is powered by the snowmobile's 12-V battery and has front-panel LED status indicators to show power, GPS tracking, and Iridium satellite connections at a glance. It also has an optional "man down" tether switch that automatically sends a distress message, which includes the GPS location if the driver is thrown from the snowmobile. The message can be sent to a predetermined e-mail address, pager, or cell phone and is user defined via the Ontec Web portal (

The ASE satellite terminal transmits data at predetermined intervals to a central server, where it is accessed using a secure Internet portal, providing a real-time picture of each racer's position on a digital map display. In this way, race teams, sponsors, race officials, and other interested spectators will view the current locations of competitors on the Tesoro Iron Dog website (

"For the Tesoro Iron Dog challenge, WCC's solution leverages Iridium's ubiquitous coverage across the entire state of Alaska via reliable satellite data connections, providing a vital safety tool for the race organizers and participants," comments Sam Romey, president of WCC. "It will also stimulate increased interest among fans, who will be able to follow their favorite teams on the Internet."

"While we are pleased to provide this important safety service for the Tesoro Iron Dog Race, we recognize that a large number of Alaskans depend on Iridium as their sole communication link in their work, travel, and day-to-day activities, and we view our satellite voice and data service as a vital public utility for the state's citizens," says Greg Ewert, executive vice president of Iridium Satellite. "Due to Alaska's unique geography, Iridium is in many cases the only available communication link with the outside world."

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