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Thales Alenia Space Delivers Iridium Simulators to SpaceX

By | March 5, 2014
      SpaceX Falcon9 Rocket Wikimedia

      SpaceX will use the simulators for testing before launching Iridium’s satellites on the Falcon 9. Photo: Wikimedia

      [Via Satellite 03-05-2014] Thales Alenia Space has delivered two complete Iridium high-fidelity satellite simulators and several low-fidelity simulators to SpaceX. The simulators have the same mechanical interface and mass properties of actual satellites, and will be used in a variety of launch tests to ensure structural integrity and functionality, vibration testing for durability, and deployment testing to confirm that the satellites will release from the dispenser correctly when in space.

      Ten satellite simulators have been constructed and will be used in tests by launch partners Kosmotras, which will launch the first two satellites with its Dnepr rocket, and SpaceX, which will launch the remaining satellites on its Falcon 9 rocket. Iridium is SpaceX’s largest commercial customer, and its $453.1 million investment represents the largest single commercial launch contract in history.

      The Iridium Next satellite network will offer improved bandwidth, data speeds and global coverage for its customers. It will also serve as a platform for the new Iridium Prime offering; a turnkey solution for hosted payloads that will offer all elements of a successful mission at an estimated cost savings of 50 percent compared to current stand-alone solutions.

      “We continue to break space industry records with Iridium,” stated Jean-Loïc Galle, CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Typically, we produce one or two simulators per satellite program, but due to the size of the Iridium Next constellation and rigorous testing built into this launch plan, it requires 10 simulators to ensure full testing with the launch platform.”