Iridium CEO Matt Desch has said prospective customers of the company’s next-generation satellites want to see quality of data that the new constellation could provide before making commitments through contracts, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Andy Pasztor writes Desch told the publication in an interview that customers such as the Federal Aviation Administration are running a cost-benefit analysis on the Iridium NEXT constellation and the company expects the FAA to make a decision next year.
Desch said an initial launch of 10 satellites aboard a SpaceX-built Falcon 9 rocket will occur between Sept. 19 and Oct. 1 while the next batch of 10 satellites will be deployed in December, Pasztor reported.
The first launch will be followed by orbital tests; in-flight maneuvers to replace current satellites with new ones; and a series of launches to complete the constellation, WSJ stated.
Desch added Iridium has moved past the deployment of backup satellites to support the current network and the company could take a year or more to move the single remaining spare satellite into proper position to address potential operational failures.