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Iridium 164



The Iridium Next network will replace the company’s aging fleet of communications satellites, which provide global coverage for phone calls, messaging, asset tracking and data relays.

Iridium’s first-generation Block 1 satellites, built by Lockheed Martin, launched in the late 1990s and early 2000s and were designed for seven-year missions. Nearly all the Block 1 spacecraft outlived their design lives, and the upgraded Iridium Next satellites are built to last at least 15 years.

The $3 billion Iridium Next network will offer faster L-band broadband connections, improved functionality and 3G-equivalent cellular phone services for Iridium’s pool of roughly one million subscribers, a client list that includes the U.S. military, oil and gas companies, aviation and maritime operators, and mining and construction contractors.

The satellites will join Plane 5 of the Iridium constellation, which includes 66 active spacecraft spread among six orbital planes, enabling worldwide coverage. The network works with the help of inter-satellite Ka-band radio links, allowing communications traffic to travel around the globe from spacecraft-to-spacecraft without the need to pass through a ground station.

Each Iridium Next satellite also hosts an aircraft tracking transceiver built by Harris Corp. The air traffic monitoring project, led by an Iridium affiliate named Aireon, will become operational once at least 66 Iridium Next spacecraft are in space.

Alternate Names

  • 43577
  • Iridium164

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 2018-07-25
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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