Iridium and SpaceX successfully launch satellites as planned
The Falcon 9 rocket successfully launches 10 Iridium Next satellites into low earth orbit.
The crucial partnership between Iridium and SpaceX has resulted in the successful second deployment of The Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 Iridium Next satellites into low earth orbit from California.
Iridium CEO Matt Desch said, “In the satellite space industry, we have to work with others. Partnerships are crucial, and ours with SpaceX proves how important it is to work together to be successful.”
The launch comes after the initial deployment of satellites back in January and forms part of a contract to provide 75 satellites to be launched over eight launches, due to be completed by mid-2018.
The now 20 Iridium satellites form the infrastructure needed for groundbreaking technologies and Services. Aireon's Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) aircraft tracking and surveillance service, and particularly Iridium Certus is poised to disrupt industry norms by enabling truly global L-band satellite broadband speeds through smaller, more cost-effective antennas. According to Iridium, the first Iridium Next satellites are already being used to provide superior call quality, faster data speeds and increased capacity to Iridium customers.
"Right now, it's two down with six more launches to go," said Desch. "Our operations team is eagerly awaiting this new batch of satellites and is ready to begin the testing and validation process. After several weeks of fine-tuning, the next set of ‘slot swaps' will begin, bringing more Iridium Next satellites into operational service, and bringing us closer to an exciting new era for our network, company, and partners."
The Iridium Next satellites from the second launch will be tested and integrated into the constellation over the coming weeks. Just as with the first launch, on-orbit testing and validation will be completed by the Iridium and Thales Alenia Space teams. Aireon, has been chosen to provide a real-time, global aircraft surveillance and tracking service.