MCLEAN, Va., March 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announced today that all 10 Iridium NEXT satellites for its fifth launch have arrived and are in processing at SpaceX's west coast launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This launch will increase the total number of Iridium NEXT satellites in space to 50 and is the second Iridium launch to use a "flight-proven" SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Iridium-5 is currently targeted for March 29, 2018 at 7:19 am PDT (14:19 UTC).
The operational Iridium constellation is comprised of 66 interconnected satellites, divided into six polar orbiting planes with 11 satellites in each plane — as well as nine additional in-orbit spares with one or two in each plane. Destined for Iridium orbital plane one, all 10 of the Iridium NEXT satellites deployed during this launch will immediately go into service following rigorous testing and validation. To date, four Iridium NEXT launches carrying 10 satellites each have been completed, and over half of the Iridium NEXT constellation has been put into active service. Iridium has contracted with SpaceX to deliver 75 Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit through a series of eight launches.
"Now that we are more than halfway deployed, we can really focus on the impact our next-generation of services will make on the industry," said Iridium CEO, Matt Desch. "Testing of our exciting new L-band broadband service, Iridium CertusSM, has been performing well, and with every successful launch, we are closer to bringing our full suite of Iridium NEXT solutions to life. With each day, we are meeting key milestones to complete our new network this year, and we can't wait to see this fifth set arrive in space to keep up the momentum."
This fifth launch will use the same Falcon 9 rocket first stage that carried the third set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit in October of 2017. Upon arrival to the launch site, each Iridium NEXT satellite begins a number of pre-launch processing steps including mating to the dispenser, fueling and encapsulation within the fairing. The satellites were shipped two at a time, in specially-designed motion and temperature-controlled containers designed to maintain optimal environmental conditions.
Iridium NEXT is the company's $3 billion next-generation mobile, global satellite network scheduled for completion in 2018. 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 upon to drive business, enable connectivity, empower disaster relief efforts and more. Iridium NEXT will enable and introduce new services like the Company's next-generation communications platform, Iridium Certus, and the AireonSM space-based ADS-B aircraft surveillance and flight tracking network.
For more information about Iridium NEXT, please visit www.IridiumNEXT.com.
Iridium is exhibiting at SATELLITE 2018 in Washington, DC. Visit booth #1801 between Tuesday, March 13th and Thursday, March 15th to learn more about Iridium and check out the new Iridium Augmented Reality experience.
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 deployment and capabilities of the Iridium NEXT constellation and products 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 products and 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, 2017, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") on February 22, 2018, 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.
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