Iridium signed a contract with SpaceX to allow the space transporter to launch Iridium’s 75 satellites into space. These satellites will replace the old Iridium constellations in orbit. The launch is to be done in batches, and the next launch is happening on May 19th.
In a statement, Iridium revealed that it had delivered five satellites to SpaceX and these will launch in May. SpaceX will launch the satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base, its west coast launch site in Santa Barbara County, California.
Before the launching, SpaceX will inspect the satellites to make sure there are no technical issues. The inspection is done to ensure a smooth launching on the scheduled date.
SpaceX will launch the Iridium satellites along with GRACE-FO. GRACE-FO is a measurement system created after a collaboration between the German Research Center for Geosciences and NASA. GRACE-FO will measure mass movement between and within the earth surface.
The launch vehicle for the launch is the Falcon 9 Rocket. The rocket will first release the GRACE-FO into space before concentrating on the release of the five Iridium NEXT satellites.
SpaceX has already launched ten of the Iridium satellites at the beginning of 2018. Several others were launched last year. The space firm will launch more of the Iridium satellites to make up the intended 75.
In a statement, the CEO of Iridium Communications Inc. Matt Desch said that the company has worked with SpaceX since 2006. According to him, it was great working with Elon Musk and his team in the early years of working together.
This launch is the sixth batch of satellites that will go into space. During the launching of the first batch for 2018, CEO of Iridium mentioned that SpaceX is moving faster than last year. Previously, the company had to wait for SpaceX even when the satellites are ready. However, the situation has changed, and The space company is now always on time for the launch.
After the May 19 launch, the space transport company will launch twenty more satellites to complete the 75 constellations.
Orbital ATK builds the satellites, and it is designed by a French company, Thales Alenia Space.
CEO Matt Desch is hoping that all 75 satellite will be in space by the end of the third quarter this year. Two or more Iridium satellite launches will happen after the May 19 launch. It is, however, difficult to predict that all 75 Iridium NEXT satellites will be in space by the end of 2018.