The Iridium NEXT Constellation now has 40 communications satellites in orbit.
Cannes, December 23rd, 2017 - The fourth batch of Iridium NEXT satellites, built by Thales Alenia Space, has been successfully launched by Space X from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The satellites were launched on a previously flown rocket, which was used during the second Iridium NEXT launch, which took place on the 25th June. This launch marks a significant new phase in the fantastic adventure of Iridium NEXT.
Thales Alenia Space is the system prime contractor for the Iridium NEXT program, in charge of engineering, integration, operations and in-orbit and overall system validation for the 81 satellites being built, 75 of which are currently planned for orbit., The satellites are integrated by Thales Alenia Space’s subcontractor, Orbital ATK, at its Satellite Manufacturing Facility in Arizona under the supervision of a dedicated, local Thales Alenia Space team. Launch and Early Operations (LEOP) and In Orbit Tests are performed by Thales Alenia Space from the Iridium Satellite Network Operations Center (SNOC) in Leesburg, Va. The success of this fourth launch further consolidates the company’s reputation for unparalleled expertise as prime contractor of sophisticated satcom systems.
“More than half of our new Iridium NEXT satellites are now in orbit. Performances are exceeding expectations. We have started integration of the 64th satellite and the next satellites to be launched are already available in anticipation of the 5th and 6th launches. Everything is on track to meet our objective, namely to launch all 75 Iridium NEXT low earth orbit satellites in 2018,” declared Denis Allard, Iridium NEXT Vice President for Thales Alenia Space.
The Iridium NEXT constellation will offer global connectivity thanks to 66 crosslinked satellites at an altitude of 780 km, along with nine spares in parking orbits and six more spare satellites on the ground. This global network provides unrivaled capabilities for communications on the move (individuals, land vehicles, aircraft, ships), and ensures full global coverage, including over the oceans and the poles. Thanks to its global coverage and independent operation, not requiring any local ground infrastructure, Iridium’s network provides vital assistance under very challenging conditions, such as in remote areas, during natural disasters or conflicts, etc. Its independence from local ground infrastructure enables secure and reliable communications when needed most.
About Thales Alenia Space
Combining 40 years of experience and a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, Thales Alenia Space architects design and deliver high technology solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments, institutions and companies rely on Thales Alenia Space to design, operate and deliver satellite-based systems that help them position and connect anyone or anything, everywhere, help observe our planet, help optimize the use of our planet's – and our solar system’s – resources. Thales Alenia Space believes in space as humankind’s new horizon, which will enable to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of about 2.4 billion euros in 2016 and has 7,980 employees in nine countries. www.thalesaleniaspace.com