SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will deliver 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit for Iridium, a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications. This is the fourth set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.
Falcon 9’s first stage for the Iridium-4 mission previously supported the Iridium-2 mission from SLC-4E in June 2017. SpaceX will not attempt to recoverFalcon 9’s first stage after launch.
The payloads for this launch are the fourth set of 10 IridiumSM NEXT satellites. Iridium NEXT will replace the world's largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest "tech upgrades" in history. Iridium has partnered with Thales Alenia Space for the manufacturing, assembly and testing of all 81 Iridium NEXT satellites, 75 of which will be launched by SpaceX. The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before.
Iridium NEXT is enabling the development of new and innovative products and services including Iridium CertusSM, the Company’s next-generation communications platform. Iridium Certus will deliver faster speeds and higher throughputs for Iridium's vast partner ecosystem that provides services for aviation, maritime, Internet of Things, terrestrial and government organizations. A service of this quality and value is unprecedented in the industry, and is poised to disrupt the current market status quo. Among the new technologies hosted by Iridium NEXT is the AireonSM aircraft tracking and surveillance system. In a historic first, upon completion this system will provide air traffic control organizations and aircraft operators that purchase the service with real-time, global visibility of ADS-B equipped aircraft. ✔️