Iridium NEXT rollout dates set
Following the much delayed launch of the first 10 satellites in Iridium’s NEXT generation in January, the launch programme for the remaining 62 satellites has been set. Iridium and SpaceX have agreed a mid-June date for the second launch which will deliver a further 10 satellites into orbit. After the second launch, SpaceX is targeting six more launches about every two months after that, which makes for a complete NEXT constellation in mid-2018. Overall, Iridium will operate 75 NEXT satellites, 66 in operation and nine in-orbit spares. Once all satellites are in place and operational, Iridium will be in a strong position to progress its long awaited application to be approved as a GMDSS service provider.