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New Target Date for Second Iridium Next Launch

By | May 30, 2017
      Falcon 9 before first Iridium Next launch. Photo: Iridium.

      Falcon 9 before first Iridium Next launch. Photo: Iridium.

      Iridium Communications announced that the second launch for its Next satellite constellation has been moved earlier, and is now targeted for June 25 at 1:24 a.m. PDT with an instantaneous launch window. SpaceX informed Iridium that range availability had opened up at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California, where SpaceX’s West Coast launch facility is located, and planned to target Iridium’s launch four days earlier than originally scheduled. This launch will deliver the second payload of 10 Iridium Next satellites to orbit, bringing the total to 20 Iridium Next satellites in space.

      Iridium has partnered with SpaceX for a series of eight launches scheduled to take place through mid-2018, delivering a total of 75 satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Iridium Next is replacing the company’s existing constellation of satellites with more powerful capabilities, including Aireon’s space-based global real-time aircraft surveillance and tracking service.

      “Satellites have already started to arrive at the launch site and are undergoing pre-launch preparations, so we’ll be ready to go.  An earlier launch date is all the better for our constellation deployment plans,” said Matt Desch, Iridium Chief Executive Officer (CEO).