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NEXT launch brings total to 30

Iridium has completed the successful launch of its third group of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, with all satellites now safely deployed, the company said.

{mprestriction ids="1,2"}The satellites were delivered into low-Earth orbit approximately one hour after their SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The launch was a few days behind schedule, having been pushed back from its previously announced October 4th date by SpaceX on a couple of occasions before being completed on October 9th.

With two previous launches having already been completed this year, this third batch brings the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in orbit to 30, nearly half the 66 required for the full Iridium NEXT operational constellation.

"Each successful launch brings us one step closer to both a technological and financial transformation," said Iridium CEO, Matt Desch.

"One of our core strategies is to offer new services that are either flat out impossible or not easily replicated by more traditional ‘bent pipe’ and geostationary systems. Satellite Time & Location, Short Burst Data and Iridium PTT are just a few examples of global services only possible on our network.”

“For us and our partners, Iridium NEXT is an engine for innovation, and services like these are just the start. Moreover, we're on track to completion in 2018."

Iridium and SpaceX are partnered for a series of eight launches, seven deploying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites at a time and one deploying five.

A total of 81 Iridium NEXT satellites are being built, with 66 required for the operational constellation. 75 satellites are currently planned for launch with nine of those serving as on-orbit spares and the remaining six as ground spares.

The entire Iridium NEXT network is scheduled to be completed by mid-2018.{/mprestriction}

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