The new Iridium NEXT constellation is completed

With a few months late, Iridium has completed its Iridium NEXT satellite launch campaign (¹).
With its 75 new satellites by SpaceX successfully deployed over the past two years, Iridium has managed the feat to fully replace its first constellation in record time. The last ten satellites, successfully orbited this January, 11 with a Falcon rocket 9  during the eighth and last launch, definitely complement the new constellation.

The Iridium NEXT constellation is the only communication network with worldwide coverage from pole to pole. It consists of six planes in polar orbit, each comprising 11 satellites for a total of 66 operational, creating an interconnected mesh network around the globe. The Iridium NEXT satellites was designed by Thales Alenia Space, prime contractor for the system, and are being integrated by the subcontractor Thales, Northrop Grumman. Since the early launches, the constellation undergoes a replacement one-to-one, a new satellite to a former, carried out thanks to a maneuver called "slot swap". 9 other satellites orbit as a spare for out of commission satellites, and another six will be stored on land as replacement.

With this new constellation, new services will be put in place. Among these solutions, include Iridium Certus for maritime, which will provide the fastest broadband connectivity specialized and the only one in the world, allowing a mobile Internet access using smaller and cheaper terminals, and ADS-B aircraft surveillance system (²) developed byAireon offering for the first time a real-time visibility of aircraft for air traffic controllers and airline anywhere around the globe.

Just have to wait for new services dedicated to boating, and possible new devices, which may take a few months.

[Update 28 February 2019] Iridium NEXT est fully operational format. Since the 20 February. Currently only Certus broadband services 200 and 700 are marketed by different operators (Thales, Sailor, Intellian, Thrane, …). Certus low-speed services 20 and 100 should appear soon.

–––
(¹) Iridium NEXT maintains its schedule
(²) ADS-B, aviator's AIS
–––

Facebooktwitterlinkedinmail