Second Batch of 10 Iridium NEXT Satellites Now Scheduled for June 25th Launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base
Iridium Communications (NASDAQ: IRDM) announced the second launch for the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation has been moved earlier, and is now targeted for June 25, 2017 at 1:24:59 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.
“We’re excited for this next launch,” said Matt Desch, chief executive officer, Iridium. “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.”
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. 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.
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