Iridium Communications is open to the possibility of using pre-flown first-stage boosters of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket to launch Iridium NEXT satellites in 2018 provided that such a move can help reduce wait times for launches, Space News reported Tuesday.
“While we are currently flying first flown launches, I’m open to previously flown launches, particularly for the second half of our launch schedule,” said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium and an inductee into Executive Mosaic’s Wash100 for 2017.
Desch told reporters during a conference call Monday that Iridium considers schedule, reliability and cost as deciding factors whether to use pre-flown stages.
“That’s the first thing: will they improve my schedule, because schedule to me is very very important,” he added.
Iridium initiated final measures to prepare for the June 25 launch of the next batch of 10 NEXT satellites aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Desch noted that the company has six more missions planned with SpaceX in the next 12 months following the second launch.