Fifth Launch of Iridium NEXT Satellites Successful
On Friday, March 30, SpaceX launched 10 more Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit, bringing the new 66-satellite constellation to near completion. According to Iridium, all 10 satellites have began communication with the ground and they are preparing to move into the testing phase before placing them into active service.
Fifty Iridium NEXT satellites are now in orbit, leaving three more launches and 25 more satellites to complete the constellation. Launch number 6 is scheduled for May 10, ride-sharing with a payload from NASA, and will place another 5 satellites into low-earth orbit. As launches continue on schedule, the entire 66 satellites and 9 spares will be fully deployed by August of 2018.
While the continued fast-pace of launches for the Iridium NEXT satellites is exciting, Iridium also passed a major milestone shortly before the launch by reaching the 1-million subscriber mark, proving that Iridium continues to be reliable and resilient in the satellite communication world. “It’s a unique coincidence that we passed the one million subscribers mark right at this launch, and it’s particularly exciting because we’ve surpassed this milestone earlier than we had anticipated,” said Matt Desch (pictured above with Outfitter Satellite's own Jim and Judy McKinley who were invited by Iridium to attend the launch), chief executive officer at Iridium.
Fueling Iridium's recent success is the "Internet of Things", enabling many different devices from a wide variety of technology partners to be connected to the internet via satellite in places where existing internet or cellular do not reach. According to Iridium, more than half of their 1-million subscriber base are IOT customers.
As the Iridium NEXT constellation is completed, Iridium reliability and functionality is better than ever.