Commercial Spaceflight And The Dawning Age of NewSpace

First batch of Iridium Next satellites good to go for July SpaceX launch |

PARIS — Mobile satellite services provider Iridium Communications on April 28 said the contracting team for its second-generation Iridium Next constellation had put past delays behind it and would be ready for a first launch of 10 satellites in late July aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

McLean, Virginia-based Iridium said the launch date could slip by a few weeks, depending on SpaceX’s management of its busy manifest. But satellite prime contractor Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy, and Orbital ATK of Dulles, Virginia, which is handling the satellites’ assembly, integration and test, will have 10 satellites ready for the July rendezvous.

Iridium said that by midsummer, the Iridium Next builders should be producing five Iridium Next satellites per month to meet Iridium’s aggressive schedule.

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