Iridium to launch next 10 satellites on Sunday
22 June 2017 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
Iridium is due to launch 10 new satellites for its new fleet on Sunday. If successful, the launch with mean the company will be a quarter of the way through its programme to replace its 20-year-old fleet.
SpaceX is due to launch Iridium’s satellites numbers 11-20 on a single rocket, due to take off from California at 13:24 Pacific time. The first 10 satellites went into orbit in January and were in service by March, replacing older units.
The company plans a total of 75 satellites to be launched over eight launches, with the new fleet expected to be completed by mid-2018.
Services from the new Iridium fleet will include a global real-time aircraft surveillance and tracking network. Iridium also plans an enterprise service, Certus, with global coverage at up to 1.4Mbps.
“Certus is in development right now and we plan to run beta trials in the second half of this year with an anticipated commercial launch in 2018,” said CEO Matt Desch.