NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive Header

Iridium 116



The Iridium-NEXT satellites, which are built by a partnership of Thales Alenia Space and Orbital ATK, will replace and modernize Iridium’s fleet. Iridium provides global mobile satellite communications through a fleet of satellites in low Earth orbit. The first ten spacecraft were launched in January, with subsequent launches in June and October bringing the total number of new-generation satellites on orbit up to thirty. Iridium has begun decommissioning its older satellites: as of early November, the oldest spacecraft still in service were Iridium 10, 12 and 13, which were part of a seven-satellite launch atop a Proton-K rocket in June 1997.

The new satellites are based around Thales’ Extended Lifetime Bus 1000, or ELiTeBus-1000, platform. Also used by Iridium’s rivals Globalstar and O3b, the ELiTeBus platform provides the satellites with a ten-year design life, however Iridium is optimistic that the spacecraft will be able to operate for fifteen years. Each satellite has a mass of 860 kilograms (1,900 lb), and carries L- and Ka-band communications payloads.

Alternate Names

  • 43072
  • Iridium116

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2017-12-23
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Full Thrust
Launch Site: Vandenberg AFB, United States

Funding Agency

  • Iridium (United States)


  • Communications

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office

[] NASA Logo -