Iridium Communications CEO Matt Desch announced that the company has rescheduled the launch of the first two Iridium NEXT satellites to October to give an additional four months for payload-software validation, SpaceNews reported Monday.
Desch, an inductee into Executive Mosaic‘s Wash100 for 2015, has noted that the in-service date for the new 66-satellite constellation remains scheduled for late 2017.
Kosmotras will send two Iridium NEXT satellites to space for the first launch using its Dnepr rocket, while SpaceX will provide seven 10-satellite launches using a satellite dispenser, the report said.
De Selding reports that the SpaceX launches will begin another four months after the Kosmotras launch to accommodate in-orbit satellite design and performance validation.
The company has several other launches scheduled in 2017 but has assured Iridium of the availability of manpower and its ability to complete the seven launches before the in-service date, he adds.