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The new Iridium NEXT constellation is completed

With a few months late, Iridium has completed its Iridium NEXT satellite launch campaign (¹).
With its 75 new satellites by SpaceX successfully deployed over the past two years, Iridium has managed the feat to fully replace its first constellation in record time. The last ten satellites, successfully orbited this January, 11 with a Falcon rocket 9 during the eighth and last launch, definitely complement the new constellation.

The Iridium NEXT constellation is the only communication network with worldwide coverage from pole to pole. It consists of six planes in polar orbit, each comprising 11 satellites for a total of 66 operational, creating an interconnected mesh network around the globe. The Iridium NEXT satellites was designed by Thales Alenia Space, prime contractor for the system, and are being integrated by the subcontractor Thales, Northrop Grumman. Since the early launches, the constellation undergoes a replacement one-to-one, a new satellite to a former, achieved through a maneuver called “slot swap”. 9 other satellites orbit as a spare for out of commission satellites, and another six will be stored on land as replacement.

With this new constellation, new services will be implemented. These services, include Iridium Certus for maritime, which will provide the fastest broadband connectivity specialized and the only one in the world, allowing a mobile Internet access using smaller and cheaper terminals, and ADS-B aircraft surveillance system (²) developed by Aireon offering for the first time a real-time visibility of aircraft for air traffic controllers and airline anywhere around the globe.

Just have to wait for new services dedicated to boating, and possible new devices, which may take a few months.

(¹) Iridium NEXT maintains its schedule
(²) ADS-B, aviator's AIS


Author : Francis

Since 2009 independent IT trainer and consultant for boating. Translator of many navigation applications on iOS and MacOS. Professional in boating for over 25 years, I provide training for applications and consulting and assistance for the integration of mobile devices (tablets, smartphones) on pleasure boats.

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