Qualification Dispenser Completed for Dnepr’s Iridium Next Launch
[Via Satellite 04-27-2015] Iridium announced the production of the qualification dispenser for the company’s initial Iridium Next launch with ISC Kosmotras is complete. Qualification testing is on-track for completion in June 2015. Dispenser qualification includes static load testing, shock testing, separation testing, vibration testing and interface testing. Yuzhnoye State Design Office and Yuzhny Machine Building Plant (Yuzhmash) of Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, subcontractors for ISC Kosmotras, are conducting the testing. Iridium and Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy worked together with Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash on the design and development of the dispenser.
ISC Kosmotras is contracted to launch the first two Iridium Next satellites from the Yasny launch site aboard a Dnepr rocket. The full constellation will consist of 66 in-orbit satellites and a number of in-orbit spares. Following the initial launch, SpaceX is contracted to launch seven missions, each carrying 10 satellites. Though the first launch was delayed by four months due to the need for more time to test payload software, the full constellation is still expected to be complete by late 2017.