First Iridium NEXT launch successfully completed
Iridium has completed the successful launch of its first ten Iridium NEXT satellites, with the satellites delivered into low-Earth orbit on January 14, 2017.
Iridium NEXT is the company’s next-generation satellite constellation, delivering much more improved communications capabilities via a new broadband service called Iridium Certus.
Iridium will completely replace its existing network of low-Earth orbit satellites over the course of the next 18 months, with a series of seven launches, deploying ten satellites at a time in each one.
The first ten Iridium NEXT satellites have now been delivered to temporary parking orbit where they will be tested and exercised by Iridium over the coming weeks.
Upon meeting testing and validation requirements, the satellites will then be moved into operational orbit to be integrated with the current network and begin providing service to customers.
The second Iridium NEXT launch is scheduled for April 2.017, when this first round of testing is completed, and the entire Iridium NEXT network, with its 80 new satellites, will be scheduled to enter service in mid-2018.