The launch brings to 30 the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in space and represents the third of eight launches that SpaceX needs to perform to deliver a total of 75 satellites into low-Earth orbit, Iridium said Monday.
“One of our core strategies is to offer new services that are either flat out impossible or not easily replicated by more traditional “˜bent pipe“™ and geostationary systems,“ said Iridium CEO Matt Desch, an inductee into Executive Mosaic“™s Wash100 for 2017.
Desch added the company is on schedule to complete in 2018 its Iridium NEXT satellite network designed to provide global services such as push-to-talk, Short Burst Data and Satellite Time & Location offerings.
The new satellite constellation will feature Aireon“™s automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast platform designed to provide aircraft surveillance and tracking service; ship tracking service from exactEarth and Harris; and the Iridium Certus communications offering built to provide L-band broadband connectivity.
Earlier this month, Iridium also initiated on-orbit tests of Certus with plans to commercially launch the service by the second quarter of 2018.