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Iridium updates schedule for second NEXT launch

Iridium reports that it has received a targeted launch date of mid-June for its second mission of ten Iridium NEXT satellites.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}Originally anticipated for mid-April of 2017, the date has shifted due to a backlog in SpaceX’s launch manifest as a result of last year’s September 1st anomaly. This second launch will deliver another ten Iridium NEXT satellites to low-Earth-orbit (LEO) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

SpaceX is targeting six subsequent Iridium NEXT launches approximately every two months thereafter.  

“After such a successful first launch, we are eager to maintain the momentum until our network is completed,” said Matt Desch, chief executive officer at Iridium.

“Even with this eight week shift, SpaceX’s targeted schedule completes our constellation in mid-2018.”

This announcement comes as Iridium reports that it has successfully connected the first Iridium NEXT satellite via its crosslinks into its global LEO constellation, to shortly begin providing service to customers.

In total, Iridium currently has plans to launch 75 NEXT satellites – 66 to serve as operational satellites and nine as on-orbit spares.{/mprestriction}

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