The January launch of Iridium's 10 NEXT satellites has gone smoothly from the launch until recently when they all passed their in-orbit tests 'with flying colors'.
These satellites are now interconnected, and are operating in full compatibility with the initial Block One constellation.
Having passed this milestone, the second batch of 10 satellites is now ready for launch on June 25 by SpaceX from the Vandenberg Air Force base in California.
Bertrand Maureau, Executive Vice President, Telecommunication at Thales Alenia Space said that the challenge for Thales Alenia Space was not just to deliver the satellites, but above all to commission the entire turnkey system and make sure that the two generations of satellites were fully compatible. Their success in this operation clearly confirms their skills and expertise as a leading prime contractor for complex telecommunications systems.”
The Iridium NEXT constellation offers global connectivity thanks to 66 interconnected satellites at an altitude of 780 km, along with nine spares in parking orbit and six more spare satellites on the ground. Totally independent from other any ground network, this international system provides unrivaled capability for communications on the move (individuals, land vehicles, aircraft, ships), and ensures full global coverage, including the oceans.