Home / Science / SpaceX prepares Falcon 9 for launch with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites

SpaceX prepares Falcon 9 for launch with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites

  A file photo of the previous Iridium NEXT mission Iridium-4 launched on December 22, 2017. Iridium-5 is scheduled to start on March 30, 2018. Photo Credit: Iridium Communications

A file photo of the previous Iridium NEXT mission, Iridium-4, launched on December 22, 2017. Iridium-5 is scheduled to start on March 30, 2018. Photo credits: Iridium Communications [19659005] The next 10 satellites that will form the Iridium NEXT constellation of communications satellites will be deployed on a SpaceX Falcon 9 missile at 7:14 pm EDT (10:14 am EDT / 14:14 GMT) Launch 30, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California

Originally scheduled for March 29, 2018, the launch was finally completed Delayed until March 30 because of a problem with one of the satellites that make up the payload, according to a tweet from the CEO of Iridium Communications, Matt De Sch. When it starts, the Iridium 5 mission sends the fifth set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit.

The Iridium NEXT satellites offer better call quality and faster data rates for Iridium's growing customer base. In addition, they can offer Internet services to their customers

  The 10 Iridium-3 satellites are paired and stacked to prepare for encapsulation. The spaceship for the Iridium 5 mission is similarly stacked. Photo Credit: Iridium Communications

The 10 Iridium 3 satellites are paired and stacked to prepare for encapsulation. The spaceship for the Iridium 5 mission is similarly stacked. Photo Credit: Iridium Communications

Manufactured by Thales Alenia Space in partnership with Orbital ATK, they replace the original iridium constellation that was introduced 20 years ago. According to Iridium Communications, the next generation satellites will be deployed in a networked near-Earth orbit architecture to provide coverage across the Earth's surface, including across oceans, airways and polar regions.

Iridium Certus is the new service platform supported by the Iridium NEXT Constellation. According to to the company:

"Iridium Certus makes broadband truly mobile by delivering a bandwidth of speeds of 22 kbps and finally up to 1.4 Mbps after full deployment.

"Iridium Certus is designed to support a wide range of versatile applications for any marketplace, on the ground, in the air and at sea – all in a single platform. It is ideally suited to operational communications and security services in the maritime and aerospace industries, to expand land mobile networks, to provide secure government communications, and to unlock powerful new M2M opportunities for inventory tracking, fleet management, remote monitoring, command and others smart data applications globe.

Fully laden with fuel, each satellite weighs 896 kilograms, bringing the total weight of only ten satellites to 18,600 kilograms.

For this flight as before SpaceX uses one for the previous two Iridium NEXT missions Flown First Stage of Falcon 9 This, referred to as Core 1041.2, is the same Block 4 stage used for the first time to construct the third set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites on the 9th.

Following a successful launch of SLC-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base, the Booster landed safely on the Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship " Just read the Instructional " article After a thorough inspection and modernization at the NewSpace factory in Hawthorne, California, the booster was sent back to SLC-4E to place the second set of 10 satellites in orbit hn to send.

The last launch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, 19659006] Iridium-4 appeared on December 22, 2017. It also used a used Falcon 9 first stage. In addition, the mission brought the planned 75 satellite constellation beyond the 50 percent mark. Eventually, the constellation will consist of 66 active satellites serving customers while the other nine become orbitals.

Iridium Communications actually purchased 81 satellites (six of which remain as spare parts on the ground if a replacement is needed in orbit) for a total cost of $ 3 billion. It will take three more launches of Falcon 9 to complete the deployment to Iridium-5. The last two, which have not yet been officially launched, will each host 10 Iridium Next satellites.

However, the next scheduled flight scheduled for May will only provide 5 Iridium NEXT satellites. SpaceX will also provide two gravity recovery and climate experiments ( GRACE Follow-On ) spacecraft for NASA and the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences in Germany on this flight. [19659011] Following the successful deployment of the Iridium NEXT satellites [196590000]the original Legacy satellites were finally [196590000] deorbited and burned in the Earth's atmosphere . According to Iridium Communications, they will be taken to a storage lane about 15 kilometers below the operating constellation.

"Once the old satellite is ready to be formally withdrawn, it undergoes a NASA-recommended decommissioning process to achieve the lowest possible orbit while consuming all of its remaining fuel," the company said in a statement May 2017 [19659007] Update. "At that point, the satellite will automatically discharge its battery and catch itself in a slow-burning orbit over time until it completely disappears into the Earth's atmosphere."

The Iridium NEXT satellites are deployed in six different orbital levels, eleven active satellites each orbiting. After a satellite has been released from its dispenser module, it then slowly drifts to its desired position in its orbital plane.

Last week, Iridium completed the second of the six orbital planes in which the new satellites will live] by Desch, the second aircraft was completed on March 23. All satellites from the start of Iridium-5 are all delivered to the first aircraft. Iridium hopes to launch the complete constellation by the end of 2018.

Tagged as: Falcon 9 Iridium Communications Iridium NEXT Iridium-5 Lead Stories SpaceX

Lloyd Campbell

Lloyd Campbell's first interest in space began when he was a very young boy in the 1960s with NASA's Gemini and Apollo programs. This passion continued in the early 1970s with our continued exploration of our moon and was renewed by the shuttle program. After attending Space Shuttle Discovery's launch on his last two missions, STS-131 and STS-133, he began creating more social networks in space and developed more articles. Since then, he has participated in the launch of the Curiosity Rover at the Mars Science Laboratory, the agency's new Orion spacecraft, which has been tested on Exploration Flight Test 1, and several other unmanned launches. In addition to writing, Lloyd has also taken more photography of launches and aviation. He enjoys all aspects of space exploration, both human and robotic, but his main interests are in human exploration and vehicles, rockets and other technologies that allow humanity to explore space.

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