The delay is the result of a SpaceX launch explosion in September 2016 which has already delayed the programme to replace Iridium’s 20-year-old satellites with a new, more powerful network.
But Iridium CEO Matt Desch was undeterred. “After such a successful first launch, we are eager to maintain the momentum until our network is completed,” he said. “Even with this eight week shift, SpaceX’s targeted schedule completes our constellation in mid-2018.”
The announcement comes as Iridium has put the first of the 10 January satellites into full operation, working will the old satellites launched in the 1990s by Motorola, which backed and financed the original venture until it collapsed into bankruptcy.
Scott Smith, chief operating officer at Iridium, said: “Since their perfect orbit injection and deployment by SpaceX, our satellite testing process has progressed ahead of schedule, a testament to the rigorous development programme they’ve undergone on the ground.”