Iridium Eyes Jan. 7 for Final ‘NEXT’ Satellite Launch; Matt Desch Quoted

Matt Desch

Iridium Communications has announced that the launch of the eighth batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites aboard SpaceX‘s Falcon 9 rocket is now scheduled on Jan. 7, SpaceNews reported Friday.

The new schedule sought to provide SpaceX more time to accommodate Spaceflight Industries’ SmallSat Express rideshare mission, which took off on Monday, Dec. 3.

Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a tweet that four of the 10 satellites are ready while the next two are in transit.

The satellite constellation developed by Northrop Grumman and Thales Alenia Space aims to provide L-band voice and data services and carry payloads to support vessel-tracking service of Harris and exactEarth as well as Aireon‘s flight-tracking service.

Iridium originally announced Dec. 30 as the target launch date for the final set of NEXT satellites.

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