SpaceX off to a good start with 2017 mission success
17 January 2017
On January 14, SpaceX successfully delivered 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications.
The 10 satellites are the first of at least 70 satellites that SpaceX will be launching for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.
Iridium NEXT will replace the world's largest commercial satellite network of low-earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest "tech upgrades" in history. Iridium has partnered with Thales Alenia Space for the manufacturing, assembly and testing of 81 Iridium NEXT satellites. The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before.
Iridium NEXT will enable the development of new and innovative products and solutions across Iridium's vast partner ecosystem. Additionally, Iridium Certus, the next-generation multi-service communications platform enabled by Iridium NEXT, will deliver faster speeds and higher throughputs across multiple industry verticals. A service of this quality and value is unprecedented in the industry, and is poised to disrupt the current market status quo. Currently, the service is set to be commercially available in 2017 and is undergoing testing on Iridium's existing network.
Iridium's primary launch campaign consists of seven SpaceX Falcon 9 launches, deploying ten Iridium NEXT satellites at a time. These 70 Iridium NEXT satellites are scheduled to be deployed by early 2018.