Iridium Communication's (Nasdaq: IRDM) deal with Thales Alenia Space, a leading European aerospace firm, for 81 communication satellites for use in the Iridium NEXT low-orbit constellation has taken flight.
The launch of the first satellites is scheduled for the first quarter of 2015.
“We are extremely pleased to have closed the Coface financing and to have moved onto the FSD (Full-scale System Development) as we aggressively push forward to deliver Iridium NEXT,“ CEO Matt Desch of Iridium said.
“Today marks another important milestone since our June 1 decision to choose Thales Alenia Space as our prime contractor. The Thales Alenia Space team is now fully engaged in designing Iridium NEXT and we feel great about the partnership that is developing between our two companies as work accelerates on this exciting venture.“
In an interview with ExecutiveBiz earlier this month, Desch said launching NEXT was the biggest goal on the company's horizon.
“Now that we've just kicked off the development, we want to make sure that's off to a great start and operating well,“ he said. “From an operational perspective, we are looking for continued strong growth, specifically with entry into some new markets like broadband Internet for aviation and maritime, and lower-cost asset tracking and personal locator devices.“