SpaceX Successfully Launched the Eighth and Final Set of Satellites
On Friday, January 11 at 7:31 a.m. PST, 15:31 UTC, SpaceX successfully launched the eighth and final set of satellites in a series of 75 total satellites for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT.
Falcon 9’s first stage delivered the second stage to its targeted orbit followed by deployment of all 10 Iridium NEXT satellites approximately 1 hour and 12 minutes after launch.
Following stage separation, the first stage of Falcon 9 successfully landed on SpaceX’s droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean. Falcon 9’s first stage for the Iridium-8 mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018.
Satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. The instantaneous launch opportunity is at 7:31 a.m. PST, or 15:31 UTC, and the satellites will begin deployment approximately an hour after launch.
A backup instantaneous launch opportunity is available on Saturday, January 12 at 7:25 a.m. PST,
or 15:25 UTC. Falcon 9’s first stage for the Iridium-8 mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018. Following stage separation, SpaceX will attempt to land Falcon 9’s firststage on the droneship, which will be stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
PAYLOAD For this eighth and final planned Iridium mission, 10 Iridium NEXT satellites will be launched as part of
the company’s campaign to replace the world’s largest commercial communication satellite network.Including the seven previous launches, all with SpaceX, Iridium is deploying 75 new satellites to orbit. Intotal, 81 satellites are being built, with 66 in the operational constellation, nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares.
Iridium is the only satellite communications network that spans the entire globe, and Iridium NEXT is one of the largest “tech upgrades” in space history. The process of replacing the satellites one by one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before. The new constellation is enabling innovative new products and services including Iridium CertusSM, the company’s next-generation L-band broadband solution for specialized applications, like safety services, remote monitoring, UAV and UAS
command and control, tracking, and more. It also hosts the AireonSM system, which will for the first time bring real-time, truly global aircraft surveillance and tracking to fruition. Official SpaceX Iridium-8 Mission Patch.