Matt Desch: Iridium Reschedules Initial NEXT Satellite Launch to April

Matt Desch
Matt Desch

Iridium Communications has rescheduled the launch of the first pair of Iridium NEXT satellites to April to provide an additional four months to address an issue with the satellite’s communications payload, Spaceflight Now reported Tuesday.

Stephen Clark writes Iridium CEO Matt Desch said Oct. 29 that prime contractor Thales Alenia Space found an issue inside the payload’s Ka-band transmit-receive modules during testing.

“The specific issue is a radio frequency spur that occurs at certain temperatures, which could create performance problems in the Ka-band downlinks to our Earth stations,” said Desch, according to the report.

“To address this spur, a resistor needs to be changed in the circuitry, and then the component can be re-installed on the first two (spacecraft) and certified through another round of testing.”

Iridium originally planned to launch the first two satellites into space onboard the ISC Kosmotras-made Dnepr rocket in December, Clark reports.

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