Iridium satellite

PONTE VEDRA, Fla — Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications on Aug. 4 announced it had secured bank commitments totaling more than $1.8 billion to finance the company’s second-generation system of 72 in-orbit satellites and nine ground spares.

The funding, which will be part of a credit facility that has the tentative backing of France’s export-credit agency, Coface, will carry an interest rate of less than 6 percent, most of which will be on fixed-rate terms, with repayment starting in 2017 and continuing through 2024.

In a statement, McLean, Va.-based Iridium said it expects to sign the credit facility in September, “subject to customary conditions as well as conditions relating to the then-current euro-to-U.S. dollar exchange rate.”

Iridium’s second-generation constellation is expected to cost about $2.9 billion to build and launch. The company plans to begin launching its satellites, likely with nine satellites per launch, in 2015 aboard Falcon 9 rockets built by Space Exploration Technologies of Hawthorne, Calif.

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.