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Today marks yet another Iridium NEXT program milestone as we approach the first launch, with all ten Iridium NEXT satellites required for first launch now on site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. At approximately 7:00 A.M. PDT on August 25, the final satellites required for the first payload were delivered, and immediately began pre-launch processing. These satellites represent the first set of the 70 total satellites that will be launched on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets, marking the start of a series of seven launches scheduled over the next 18 months.
“We are very excited to have reached this stage of the program,” said Matt Desch, chief executive officer of Iridium. “After all these years of preparation, it’s wonderful to have the first batch of satellites complete, on-site and being prepped for the first launch. We want to express thanks to every person involved in the program who has helped get us to this point.”
Partnering with Iridium on this initiative as prime contractor is Thales Alenia Space, and their partner Orbital ATK, who are manufacturing, assembling, integrating and testing all Iridium NEXT satellites.