Iridium Communications CEO Matt Desch said the company expects to complete the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation this year to help Aireon meet its timeline for delivery of aircraft monitoring service through the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast system, NASASpaceflight.com reported Friday.
“The reason why that’s important isn’t for any services that we have today, it’s for Aireon – which is a live service that will go into operation over the north Atlantic here in 2019,” he noted.
“And they need all the time to get the International Civil Aviation Organization certifications and the Air Navigation Service providers to be able to put it into live operations and have controllers use that data.”
Desch said the company will launch before this year ends the eighth batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites.
Sources say the Iridium NEXT-8 mission will take off no earlier than November as the company waits for the 12 satellites, including two spares, to be completed and ready for launch.
“The issue here is a result of getting basically 12 satellites completed for the 10 that we want to launch,” said Desch, a four-time Wash100 recipient.
“And that looks like it’s going to happen sometime in early to mid-October,” he added.