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Key facts

  • Ocean Cleanup uses L-band satellite communications


An enormous floating device designed to clean up a patch of rubbish that is three times the size of France in the Pacific Ocean has brought the first batch of ocean plastic back to shore following its successful mission to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP).

After being caught by The Ocean Cleanup’s u-shaped floating collection system, the first plastic arrived last week in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Ocean Cleanup organization now plans to recycle the trash into consumer products that The Ocean Cleanup will sell to help fundraise for future clean up operations. Preparations are already underway for its second-generation system.

Based in Rotterdam, The Ocean Cleanup first took to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in October last year with the intention of collecting plastic waste with its huge floating booms. Unfortunately, the system almost immediately began experiencing difficulties which sent it back to shore for repairs and upgrades. The Ocean Cleanup team confirmed the barriers were successfully gathering trash in October 2019.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) is the largest of the five offshore plastic accumulation zones in the world’s oceans. It is located halfway between Hawaii and California.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP)

Essential communications

The L-band satellite broadband services chosen to support this important mission are being delivered by Iridium in partnership with Iridium service provider, Applied Satellite Technology Ltd (AST).

The Iridium broadband terminals were used to receive data from a complex combination of sensors and data gathering equipment hosted by each system over satellite. The critical operation data was then delivered to The Ocean Cleanup’s headquarters in Rotterdam in real-time.

Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that provides truly global and reliable, operational communications and data transmission, as well as emergency communications, even when weather conditions are poor. 

Fighting plastic pollution together

AST strongly supports the fight to rid our oceans of plastic waste and is honoured to have supplied the critical Iridium services needed for the success of The Ocean Cleanup’s historic mission.

AST proudly supports the Big Blue Ocean Cleanup as our chosen corporate charity. Our staff regularly volunteer their time to clean beaches of waste neighbouring our global offices.


Wherever you are, whatever your remote connectivity requirements, AST has a solution. To discuss how we can take you further with one of the friendly team call +65 6580 1780 or email


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