Iridium’s launch and integration for the NEXT constellation is planned for the first quarter of 2015. Iridium has announced the completion of the satellite preliminary design review phase of the program. This phase completes the preliminary design and specifications for all parts of the satellite system. This includes main mission antenna, payload, feeder links and cross links.
Scott Smith executive vice president of Iridium Next said, "The foundation for Iridium NEXT satellite design is complete”.
After passing this first milestone of the program design process, engineers under the direction of Thales Alenia Space have begun the detailed design phase. This includes building prototype hardware for the satellites, antennas and ground stations.
Mr. Smith went on to say, We have an amazing, innovative group of partners -- the Iridium NEXT Mission Team, as we call it -- and we are confident in the tremendous progress we have made on the world's most significant commercial space program. Iridium NEXT is on track to further Iridium's position as a vital player in the global communications infrastructure. Our organization and its ecosystem of partners around the world are very excited about the influence this tremendous; next-generation network will have on continuing to connect organizations and people in ways never before thought possible."
With the completion of the preliminary design of the Iridium NEXT satellite constellation, Iridium with its contractors will begin constructing the engineering model units used to verify the design and performance of the system before full construction that should start in 2013. Iridium’s goal is to complete its constellation critical design review phase in early 2013.
The constellation feeder links and cross links are among the prototypes under construction. These feeder links and cross links will be communicating to the Iridium ground stations and between Iridium satellites. Main mission and payload antennas will be built and tested to insure reliability and compatibility.
The following time line outlines plans for future critical milestones of the Iridium NEXT constellation:
The Iridium provides the world’s largest commercial satellite constellation made up of 66 satellites with polar orbits. TheIridium satellite constellation is also the only satellite provider that gives its customers complete global coverage including the poles and the oceans. Iridium provides two-way, low-latency, real-time voice and data service everywhere on the planet with small mobile devices that allow its customers to stay in touch from anywhere to everywhere.