Iridium NEXT

Launching a New Era in Space

Working in close collaboration with prime contractor Thales Alenia Space, and launch provider SpaceX, Iridium is on track to fully replace its current satellite constellation and continues to achieve key milestones in its comprehensive plan for funding, building and launching Iridium NEXT in early 2018.

Iridium is replacing its existing constellation by sending 75 Iridium NEXT satellites into space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket over 8 different launches.

Update – May 22, 2018

Iridium Completes Seventh Successful Iridium® NEXT Launch

One launch remains for Iridium to finish its historic constellation refresh

MCLEAN, Va.July 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) announced today that at 04:39:30 am PDT (11:39:30 UTC) a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched 10 Iridium NEXT satellites to low earth orbit (LEO). Lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, this was the seventh of eight launches planned for the Iridium NEXT constellation, replacing the company's existing 66 satellite network. Only one more launch of 10 satellites remains until the Iridium NEXT network is completed, ushering in a new era of capabilities, like the Iridium CertusSM broadband service and AireonSM real-time aircraft surveillance system.

Iridium Completes Sixth Successful Iridium® NEXT Launch

SpaceX successfully launched five Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  The Iridium satellites were joined by the twin spacecraft for the NASA/German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, in a unique "rideshare" launch. Shortly after deployment, Iridium confirmed successful communication with all five new satellites, formally bringing the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in orbit to 55.  This leaves just two more launches of 10 satellites each to complete this ambitious launch program.  The Iridium NEXT constellation, featuring 66 interconnected low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, will enable never before possible services like the AireonSM global aircraft tracking and surveillance system and its new broadband service, Iridium Certus. 

Fifth Successful Iridium® NEXT Launch Completed as Iridium Surpasses 1 Million Subscribers

SpaceX successfully launched the fifth set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  All 10 new satellites have successfully communicated with the Iridium Satellite Network Operations Center and are preparing to begin testing.  Shortly before launch, the Iridium network met a major milestone as it surpassed 1 million active subscribers. This continues a trend of significant growth and serves as a testament to the reliable, resilient and uncompromising nature of the Iridium network.

Iridium® NEXT Launch Campaign Reaches its Halfway Point with a Fourth Successful Launch

On december 22nd, 2017, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites. Iridium has confirmed the satellites were successfully deployed. 

This launch marks the midway point of the Iridium NEXT launch program, and was the first Iridium launch to use a SpaceX flight-proven rocket.  The first stage booster for Iridium-4 was previously used for Iridium-2, making Iridium the first company to reuse the same rocket booster.

SpaceX Launches 10 New Iridium Satellites, Sticks Rocket Landing

The private spaceflight company SpaceX successfully launched 10 communications satellites into low-Earth orbit today (Oct. 9) and landed the spent Falcon 9 first-stage rocket booster on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean. 
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on October 9th, 2017, carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications, as part of the company's Iridium Next constellation. The first stage of the two-stage Falcon 9 landed on SpaceX's drone ship "Just Read the Instructions" in the Pacific about 7.5 minutes after the launch.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch of the 2nd Iridium NEXT mission

Iridium Communications announced the successful second launch of its next-generation network, Iridium Next. This payload of 10 satellites deployed into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) approximately one hour after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, June 25.


The First Ten Iridium NEXT Satellites Have Arrived in Low-Earth Orbit

January 14, 2017, marks a historic day in Iridium history – the first payload of ten Iridium NEXT satellites have been launched and deployed into low-Earth orbit (LEO) by our launch partner, SpaceX. This highly anticipated first launch took place at SpaceX’s west coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, at approximately 9:54:39 am PST. 

Iridium NEXT The bold future of satellite communications

Iridium is delivering on its uncompromising vision for the future of global communications: Iridium NEXT.

Iridium’s groundbreaking second-generation satellite constellation will enable innovations today and those yet to be imagined, while providing continued high performance and reliability for all existing Iridium® solutions – far into the future.

Iridium NEXT is driving innovation, creating opportunities and changing the way people and organizations communicate – everywhere on the planet.

Driving an evolution in global communications

Broadband: Iridium will be uniquely positioned to offer a diverse portfolio of faster and more affordable global broadband services and devices.

M2M: Higher speeds and bandwidth will unlock new possibilities in asset tracking, fleet management and other intelligent data applications.

Land Mobile: Iridium® handheld device users will benefit from an even more powerful and reliable enhanced personal communications network.

Iridium NEXT will dramatically enhance Iridium's ability to meet the growing demand for global mobile communications on land, at sea and in the skies. Iridium enables partners to create innovative products and solutions that haven’t even been conceived of yet, made possible through the flexibility of Iridium’s network. Iridium NEXT will:

  • Support more bandwidth and higher speeds for new products
  • Enable partner solutions on a scale not yet imagined
  • Provide service continuity and backwards compatibility
  • Support Aireon’s aircraft tracking service as well as other Hosted Payload missions
  • Be the World’s First Turnkey Platform for Innovative New Capabilities by supporting new Iridium PRIME℠ satellites
With a range of speeds eventually up to 1.4 megabits per second after Iridium NEXT deployment is completed, Iridium Certus is being built to support an innovative portfolio of partner products and satisfy a wide-ranging set of maritime, aviation and land mobile communication needs.