Iridium Communications looks to send five backup satellites to space by availing cost-effective, rideshare opportunity and anticipates a potential $35 million deal for the launch service, SpaceNews reported Thursday.
Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium and a 2022 Wash100 Award recipient, said the plan to deploy the majority of the six ground spares is meant to put the satellites to utility instead of just being stored at its Arizona facility.
Speaking at Iridium’s first quarter 2022 earnings call, Desch pointed to maintenance costs the company is spending on the spares but clarified that there is no immediate need to launch the satellites as the company’s constellation “is very healthy and is performing well.”
On the subject of the Space Development Agency’s low Earth orbit constellation program, Desch expects a contract award from the Department of Defense for its operation this year.
“I think there’s a lot of confidence among the government that [the constellation is] going to be a network that will be increasingly relied upon,” he said.