SpaceX Return to Flight Set for Saturday

spacex_iridium1_patchHAWTHORNE, Calif. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications. The 10 satellites are the first of at least 70 satellites that SpaceX will be launching for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.

SpaceX is targeting launch of Iridium-1 from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The instantaneous launch window opens on January 14 at 9:54:39 am PST or 5:54:39 pm UTC. The satellites will begin deployment about an hour after launch.

The webcast is available here.

A backup launch opportunity on January 15 opens at 9:49:04 am PST or 5:49:04 pm UTC.

Following stage separation, the first stage of Falcon 9 will attempt a landing on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship that will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

Payload

The payloads for this launch are the first 10 Iridium NEXT satellites. Iridium NEXT will replace the world’s largest commercial satellite network of low-earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest “tech upgrades” in history. Iridium has partnered with Thales Alenia Space for the manufacturing, assembly and testing of 81 Iridium NEXT satellites, at least 70 of which will be launched by SpaceX. The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before.

Iridium NEXT will enable the development of new and innovative products and solutions across Iridium’s vast partner ecosystem. Additionally, Iridium Certus, the next-generation multi-service communications platform enabled by Iridium NEXT, will deliver faster speeds and higher throughputs across multiple industry verticals. A service of this quality and value is unprecedented in the industry, and is poised to disrupt the current market status quo. Currently, the service is set to be commercially available in 2017 and is undergoing testing on Iridium’s existing network.

Iridium’s primary launch campaign consists of seven SpaceX Falcon 9 launches, deploying ten Iridium NEXT satellites at a time. These 70 Iridium NEXT satellites are scheduled to be deployed by early 2018.

Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables real time connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere.