SpaceX completed a “doubleheader” of launches June 25 with the launch of a second set of next-generation Iridium satellites from California, two days after another Falcon 9 from the East Coast.
Mobile satellite services provider Iridium is willing to use pre-flown Falcon 9 first stage boosters for the second half of its fleet replacement if SpaceX can show that reuse will shorten Iridium’s wait for launches.
The system uses GPS data and onboard computers to monitor the rocket's trajectory and destroy it should it go off course. It was first tested earlier this year on a Falcon 9 launch from the Kennedy Space Center.
Now that its first batch of next generation satellites is in orbit and operational, mobile satellite services provider Iridium is preparing deorbit procedures for its legacy fleet of low-Earth orbit satellites that launched in the late 1990s.
CEO Matt Desch said the next batch of 10 Iridium Next satellites is scheduled for launch June 29.
Iridium announced Jan. 31 it has purchased an additional Falcon 9 launch from SpaceX that the satellite services company will share with a German-U.S. Earth science mission.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Jan. 14 and successfully delivered ten Iridium Communications satellites into polar orbit.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has issued a launch license to SpaceX for the upcoming return to flight of its Falcon 9, although its planned launch has been delayed by at least one day.
SpaceX has postponed Falcon 9's return-t0-flight launch until early January, the Hawthorne, California-based company announced today (Dec. 7).
Satellite fleet operator EchoStar Corp. on Nov. 23 said its EchoStar 23 tri-band telecommunications satellite for Brazil is expected to launch Jan. 8 or Jan. 9 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
The agency providing U.S. government access to Iridium’s global constellation of mobile communications satellites on Nov. 9 urged other nations to join the program to take advantage of its fixed-price, unlimited-access feature.
Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications expects to complete negotiations with its lenders and its satellite manufacturer by the end of the year ro loosen payment obligations to ride out the delay in the launch of its second-generation constellation.
The commercial company with arguably the most at stake in a quick and successful return to flight of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket on Sept. 8 gave a ringing endorsement of the launch-service provider even as SpaceX founder Elon Musk issued statements saying the investigation will be complicated.
Veteran satellite industry analyst Chris Quilty says SpaceX could be looking at a six-month stand down if its accident investigation reveals that internal tankage or plumbing on the Falcon caused the Sept. 1 pre-flight failure.