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Iridium NEXT constellation upgrade completed

12 Feb 2019, 11:00 UTC
Iridium NEXT constellation upgrade completed
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A rendering of an Iridium NEXT satellite. Image Credit: Iridium
Iridium Communications announced last week in a Washington D.C. press conference that it had finished its 10-year satellite upgrade project known as Iridium NEXT.
During a Feb. 6, 2019, press conference in Washington, D.C., company officials said the constellation, which had been in development since 2010 and consists of 66 satellites in low-Earth orbit and nine orbital spares and six ground spares, was completed, finishing a $3 billion next-generation satellite constellation.
Several Iridium NEXT satellites in various stages of preparation at SpaceX’s integration facility before their launch. Photo Credit: Iridium
“The completion of the Iridium NEXT program signifies a new chapter in the Iridium story, one that sees us transforming from a big cash spender to a big cash generator,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch, in a company statement. “This is the realization of a long, successful climb, and reaching the peak, it’s gratifying to know the future of the company is secure, and we have now financially matured as a satellite operator. Huge thanks are in order to our entire team, particularly our friends at SpaceX and our prime satellite manufacturer Thales Alenia Space and their teams.”
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