Ten satellites were delivered to LEO with SpaceX Falcon 9 missiles and all successfully communicated with the Iridium Satellite Network Operations Center. This is the eighth and final launch of Iridium (which required $ 3 billion investment) with SpaceX, which has deployed 75 new satellites in less than two years.
Iridium claims that its satellite constellation is a communication network with pole-pole coverage of the entire planet. It consists of six polar orbital planes, each containing 11 cross-linked satellites totaling 66 in the operating constellation.
"There are a few words to describe the feelings that you have completed a vision that began many years ago when I joined the company and what it meant for Iridium and our future," said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. "Thanks to SpaceX for helping to bring this new generation of satellites into the orbit, so impeccable every time it comes to words. However, Iridium is still not entirely over target, as we still have to do some work to get these satellites into operation. When this is over, our future will be in place. I'm just incredibly proud of our team. "
According to the announcement, 60 out of 66 satellites were new and the last six are scheduled for activation in the coming weeks. The Iridium NEXT satellite was designed by Thales Alenia Space, which serves as the main contractor of the system, and is integrated by Thales's subcontractor, Northropa Grumman.
A total of 81 satellites were built and 75 satellites successfully launched. Nine of the satellites will serve as spare parts on orbits, and the remaining six will be stored on the ground.
It is expected that Aireon's system will provide the location history for any aircraft using technology and lose, thereby reducing the likelihood of missing any flight as Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in March 2014. The global system will also allow flights to use separation distances for areas above the water where there is no radar coverage as they are present. Aireon claims that the aviation sector will also benefit from increased safety, more effective flight routes, more accurate forecasts of arrival and departure, faster response time and reduction of CO2 emissions.
"The Aireon's space-based ADS-B network is exactly what the aviation industry needs," says Marion Blakey, a former Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator, now serving in the Aireon Advisory Committee. During his stay at the FAA, extensive work on promoting ADS-B technology for global aviation management efforts has been made. Today's successful launch is not just a victory for Aireon, but also for the aviation industry, as we are now closer to having a clear, accurate and complete picture of the world's airspace, including the oceans and remote areas. "