Iridium NEXT constellation continues to change the face of communications market with the upcoming fifth launch.
Iridium NEXT constellation, with communications satellites built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor, is the most complex communications system in operation ever.
An Unsurpassed Global Reach
With Iridium first generation satellites being replaced, the upcoming ten satellites continue to increase the capabilities of what is already an industrial masterpiece.
The constellation of satellites allows for communication that can reach the north and south poles, as well as anywhere in between. “Iridium NEXT design is based on an In-Orbit Satellite Link (ISL) type of architecture,” says Denis Allard, VP Constellations from Thales Alenia Space. “This allows each satellite to be connected to 4 others (2 on the same orbital plane and 2 on the adjacent orbital planes), creating an orbiting network of 66 satellites totally independent of any local ground infrastructure.”
First Response During Natural Disasters
Allard’s final point is central to a feature that can be lifesaving. Being an independent network means that communication can bypass devastated ground infrastructures in the event of natural disasters. This is the precise technology that successfully aided the initial first response of authorities during the unprecedented hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
With deployment of Iridium NEXT finalised, Iridium CertusSM, a service platform powered by the satellites, will allow for transformational efficiency and dependability in maritime, aviation, government and IoT* capabilities.
The satellites number 41 to 50, are targeted to be launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket by end of March, 2018, from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Learn more about the Iridium NEXT constellation story and watch the webseries on: thalesaleniaspace-webseries.com
*IoT: Internet of Things