It's been a busy weekend for SpaceX with two successful launches just days apart, and a safe return of the Falcon 9 rocket, again.
The following is SpaceX's statement released after today's launch of Iridium®'s 10 NEXT satellites.
On Sunday, June 25 at 1:25 p.m. PDT, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications. This is the second set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium® NEXT.
Following stage separation, the first stage of Falcon 9 successfully landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean, despite challenging weather conditions.
The mission of this most recent endeavor is for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to deliver 10 satellites to low Earth orbit for Iridium, provider of mobile voice and data satellite communications. This is the second set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium® NEXT.
The payloads for this launch are the second set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites. Iridium NEXT will replace the world's largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest "tech upgrades" in history. Iridium has partnered with Thales Alenia Space for the manufacturing, assembly and testing of all 81 Iridium NEXT satellites, 75 of which will be launched by SpaceX. The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before.
Iridium NEXT is enabling the development of new and innovative products and solutions across Iridium's vast partner ecosystem that provide services for aviation, maritime, Internet of Things, terrestrial and government organizations. This will include Iridium CertusSM, the Company’s next-generation multi-service communications platform enabled by Iridium NEXT, which will deliver faster speeds and higher throughputs across multiple industry verticals. A service of this quality and value is unprecedented in the industry, and is poised to disrupt the current market status quo. Among the new technologies hosted by Iridium NEXT is the AireonSM aircraft tracking and surveillance system. In a historic first, upon completion this system will provide air traffic control organizations and aircraft operators that purchase the service with 100 percent, real-time, global visibility of their aircraft.
Iridium's primary launch campaign consists of eight SpaceX Falcon 9 launches deploying 75 Iridium NEXT satellites. These 75 Iridium NEXT satellites are scheduled to be deployed by mid-2018. Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables real-time connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere.