video overview

IIr Associates, Inc.
Publisher of The Virginia Engineer

Print-Publishing Services
Web Site Design-Coding-Hosting
Business Consulting

Phone: (804) 779-3527

Completion of First-Launch Iridium NEXT Satellites Activities and Second Launch Date Announced
May 11, 2017

Iridium Communications Inc. has announced that the first set of Iridium NEXT satellites have been integrated into the operational constellation and are providing excellent service to Iridium customers. Prior to achieving this major program milestone, the new satellites went through a rigorous testing and validation process that demonstrated that they met all performance requirements and even exceeded many. The Iridium NEXT satellites are already providing superior call quality and faster data speeds with increased capacity to Iridium customers. In addition, the Company has announced the targeted launch date for the second payload of ten Iridium NEXT satellites as June 29, 2017, at 1:02pm PDT, with an instantaneous launch window. All planned Iridium NEXT launches will take place from SpaceX’s west coast launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California, on Falcon 9 rockets.

The testing and validation process for the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation involved a thorough test of each of Iridium’s services, an assessment of each satellite’s performance against established metrics, and a formal acceptance process between Iridium and Thales, thus ensuring a smooth integration into Iridium’s existing network architecture. Once completed for each new satellite, a precisely orchestrated process of replacing the original Iridium® satellite with a new Iridium NEXT satellite, known as a ‘slot swap’ is completed. To date, the team at Iridium’s Satellite Network Operations Center (SNOC) has successfully completed three individual slot swaps, and two dual slot swaps. Two of the new satellites are currently drifting to their assigned orbital plane.

The Iridium NEXT satellites are manufactured by Thales Alenia Space, the prime contractor, and assembled at Orbital ATK’s facility in Gilbert, Arizona. Thales Alenia Space has been tasked with certifying these next-generation satellite vehicles, all while maintaining a demanding manufacturing timetable to meet Iridium’s launch schedule.

The late-June launch will deliver the second set of ten Iridium NEXT satellites into low-earth orbit, bringing the total count to 20 Iridium NEXT satellites in space. A total of 75 satellites will be launched over eight launches, and are expected to be completed by mid-2018. A network replacement of this size and scale has never been achieved before, and Iridium NEXT has been coined one of the largest “tech refreshes” in history. The new constellation is the first step in delivering Iridium’s next-generation portfolio of communications services, called Iridium CertusSM, and will also introduce new revolutionary technologies and services like the AireonSM space-based ADS-B aircraft surveillance and flight tracking network.

  ------   News Item Archive  -----  
The Virginia Engineer on facebook
The Virginia Engineer RSS Feed