SpaceX are back to landing rockets on ships. Overnight SpaceX lanched another Falcon 9 rocket into space to deliver 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications. Fortunately the launch went as planned and the rocket returned to earth and landed safely on SpaceX’s drone ship, enabling its reuse in a later mission.
Iridium NEXT will replace the world’s largest commercial satellite network of low-earth orbit satellites. Iridium 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.
Iridium says this will enable the development of new and innovative products and solutions across their partner ecosystem. The next-generation multi-service communications platform will deliver faster speeds and higher throughputs. 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. This means at least 6 additional rocket launches are expected for Iridium NEXT satellites between now and 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. So its likely you’ve communicated over this network and didn’t even know it.
If you missed the event live, you can re-watch the event below. As always, the crowd reaction from employees at SpaceX is one of the best parts of SpaceX launches as the launch goes to plan and successfully completes each stage of the launch and landing.