Iridium Communications has announced the arrival of the fifth batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California in preparation for the launch aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket that is set to take off on March 29.
Iridium said Monday each satellite will go through encapsulation, fueling and other pre-launch processing methods.
“Now that we are more than halfway deployed, we can really focus on the impact our next-generation of services will make on the industry,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch said.
Desch, a 2018 Wash100 recipient, added the company has begun testing its Iridium Certus L-band broadband service and inches closer to completing the Iridium NEXT satellite network this year.
The scheduled launch will use Falcon 9’s previously-flown first stage that SpaceX deployed in October 2017 to bring the third set of Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit.
The satellites that will lift off as part of the Iridium-5 launch mission will go to orbital plane 1 and enter service upon completion of the testing and validation phase.