Third Launch of Iridium NEXT Satellites Successful
On October 9, 2017, 10 more of the new Iridium NEXT satellites were launched from Vandenburg Air Force Base on board a Space X Falcon rocket. About an hour after launch, each satellite was deployed one-at-a-time from a specially designed carrier module on the rocket's second stage.
Iridium announced that their network operations center has already been working around the clock since the deployment. In previous launches, the satellites were sent drifting to their new operational orbit plane; however, in this launch, the satellites will go directly into operation once testing is complete.
Over the next 45 days, the satellites will be tested and validated to make sure they are ready to begin their duties in the Iridium satellite constellation. Iridium uses a 66-satellite, polar low-earth orbit constellation of satellites in constant motion, affording Iridium customers truly global phone and data capability.
This launch is the third of a planned 8 launches that will happen over the next year, launching 75 new satellites into low-earth-orbit. Once fully deployed, the Iridium Next satellites will enable better satellite interconnectivity meaning less dropped calls. It was also allow higher data speeds, which opens up many new opportunities through the new Iridium Certus broadband service for internet connectivity anywhere on the planet.