Matt Desch: Iridium to Deorbit Remaining First-Gen Satellites in Q1 2019

Matt Desch

Iridium Communications CEO Matt Desch has said the company intends to deboost the last batch of its legacy satellites in the first quarter of 2019 as it plans to transition all network functions to the Iridium NEXT constellation, SpaceNews reported Wednesday.

Desch, a four-time Wash100 recipient, told reporters Monday at World Satellite Business Week in Paris the company has deorbited 41 from the first-generation constellation of 66 communications satellites and has disposed of approximately 30 original satellites through the deboosting process.

He noted that Thales Alenia Space-developed Iridium NEXT satellites have operated without issues since the start of the deployment effort in January 2017.

The report said the company already has 65 orbiting Iridium NEXT satellites and expects the last set of 10 spacecraft to launch in November aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

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