Iridium Communications is nearing the end of its two-year campaign with SpaceX to place 75 Iridium NEXT communication satellites into orbit. The company has launched 65 of those satellites to date, with the final 10 scheduled to launch on a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, before the end of the year.
The completion of the launch campaign will purposefully leave six NEXT satellites on the ground to serve as launch-replacement spares should they ever be needed over the life of the new constellation.
Yesterday, sources confirmed to NASASpaceflight that the Iridium NEXT-8 mission’s launch is now No Earlier Than (NET) November 2018 and that the Iridium NEXT satellites – the mission’s payload – are the cause for the delay, not SpaceX or the Western Range.
NASASpaceflight’s Chris Gebhardt sat down with Iridium Communications CEO, Matt Desch, to talk about the Iridium NEXT-8 launch campaign.
Other Iridium NEXT News:
Iridium NEXT Satellite Constellation is Iridium’s new 75 satellite replacement constellation replacing the existing Iridium Satellite constellation. Offering increased capacity, capabilities and service improvements to change the way of global communications.