MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 22, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today that the fifth Iridium NEXT launch has been targeted by SpaceX for March 18, 2018 at 8:19 am PDT (15:19 UTC) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The first of four launches planned for 2018, Iridium-5 will deliver 10 more Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit, bringing the total number of new satellites deployed to 50. This launch will use the same Falcon 9 first stage as the Iridium-3 launch that took place in October 2017 and begin a rapid-cadence launch schedule targeting completion of the Iridium manifest by mid-2018.
"We are entering the home stretch," said Matt Desch, chief executive officer, at Iridium. "This is going to be a monumental year for us as we complete our constellation refresh. In addition to four launches, we will continue the testing and validation processes for our new specialty broadband service, Iridium CertusSM, and look forward to its commercial launch later this year. We consider 2017 to be a great success and anticipate this year to be even better."
The Iridium network is comprised of six polar orbiting planes, each containing 11 operational crosslinked satellites, for a total of 66 satellites in the active constellation. The Iridium-5 launch will deliver the new satellites to orbital plane 1, where all 10 will go directly into service after testing and validation. Following Iridium-5, the Iridium-6 Rideshare mission is targeted for mid-to-late April. The Rideshare will carry five Iridium NEXT satellites and the twin satellites for the NASA/German Research Center for Geosciences (GFZ) Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On mission. The final four launches will bring a total of 35 new satellites to space, completing the constellation of 66 operational satellites and 9 in-orbit spares.
Iridium NEXT is the company's $3 billion, next-generation, mobile, global satellite network scheduled for completion in 2018. The constellation features 66 active satellites, plus nine on-orbit spares. In total, 81 new satellites are being built, with the six remaining satellites serving as ground spares. Iridium NEXT will replace the company's existing global constellation in one of the largest technology upgrades ever completed in space. It represents the evolution of critical communications infrastructure that governments and organizations worldwide rely on to drive business, enable connectivity, empower disaster relief efforts and more.
For more information about Iridium NEXT, please visit www.IridiumNEXT.com
About Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. The company has a major development program underway for its next-generation network — Iridium NEXT. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company has based these statements on its current expectations and the information currently available to us. Forward-looking statements in this press release include statements regarding the timing for deployment, development and capabilities of the Iridium NEXT constellation and services to be offered over the constellation, including Iridium Certus. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words "anticipates," "may," "can," "believes," "expects," "projects," "intends," "likely," "will," "to be" and other expressions that are predictions or indicate future events, trends or prospects. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Iridium to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, uncertainties regarding potential delays in the Iridium NEXT deployment, the development and functionality of Iridium NEXT and related services, and the company's ability to maintain the health, capacity and content of its satellite constellation, as well as general industry and economic conditions, and competitive, legal, governmental and technological factors. Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements include those factors listed under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on February 23, 2017, as well as other filings Iridium makes with the SEC from time to time. There is no assurance that Iridium's expectations will be realized. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if Iridium's underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Iridium's forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Iridium undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.
Iridium Communications Inc.
+1 (646) 872-0067
Iridium Communications Inc.
+1 (703) 287-7570