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Iridium 162



Iridium Communications Inc. announced in June 2010 its comprehensive plan for funding, building and deploying its next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT to replace the original Iridium constellation. Specifically, the Company announced the execution of a fixed price contract with Thales Alenia Space for the design and construction of satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation. Iridium's fixed price contract with Thales Alenia Space provides for the construction of the originally planned 72 operational satellites and in-orbit spares, plus an additional nine ground spares, which provide greater risk mitigation with respect to the new constellation. As a result of the expanded scope of the project, the total cost of Iridium NEXT, including all costs associated with development, manufacture and launch of the constellation, is now anticipated to be approximately $2.9 billion. In addition, Iridium has entered into an Authorization to Proceed (ATP), which allows Thales Alenia Space to commence work immediately on the development of satellites prior to completion of the financing, with the plan to commence the launch of the first satellites during the first quarter of 2015.

Each spacecraft employs an L-band phased array antenna for generation of the 48-beam, 4,700 km diameter cellular pattern on the Earth’s surface for communication with subscribers/users. Ka-band links are also provided for communications with ground-based gateways and for crosslinks with adjacent spacecraft in orbit. The cross-linked 66 satellite constellation forms a global network in space allowing communications from a ground or airborne user from any location on Earth to virtually anywhere else on Earth.

Each Iridium-NEXT satellites can provide an opportunity to fly an 50 kg secondary sensor payload. 50 W average power is available for the payload. Data delivery and access to hosted payload will be performed trough the Iridium infrastructure or private gateways.

Alternate Names

  • 43482
  • Iridium162

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2018-05-22
Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9 Full Thrust
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, 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

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