The company said Wednesday it began pre-launch processing activities on the satellites and the Falcon 9 rocket stages and components.
The third Irdium NEXT launch was originally slated for Sept. 30 and was postponed to give SpaceX a few extra days to prepare.
Iridium CEO Matt Desch, an inductee into Executive Mosaic‘s Wash100 for 2017, said the company’s teams in California, Arizona and Northern Virginia contribute to the program’s pre- and post-launch operations.
The Iridium NEXT program aims to deploy 75 satellites into orbit by 2018 as part of efforts to meet connectivity needs of government and commercial customers.
Thales Alenia Space, the program’s prime contractor, delivered the satellites from Orbital ATK‘s satellite manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona to Vanderberg AFB.
Iridium ordered a total of 81 NEXT satellites, which include 66 for the operational constellation, nine on-orbit spares and six ground spares.
The Oct. 4 launch will mark the third of eight planned launches under the program.