SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, launched a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on 14 January 2017. The Falcon 9 delivered 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit (LEO) for Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM), a global provider of mobile voice and data satellite communications (SATCOM) in McLean, Virginia.
Read about the launch, satellites, and hosted payload
The Iridium satellites are hosting the space-based automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) system from Aireon in McLean, Virginia, designed for enhanced air traffic management/air traffic control (ATM/ATC).
These 10 satellites are the first of at least 70 satellites that SpaceX will be launching for Iridium’s next-generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. This event marked: the first SpaceX rocket launch since a launch pad explosion in September 2016, the start of a series of Iridium NEXT launches scheduled over the next 18 months, and the beginning of one of the biggest “tech refreshes” in history, completely replacing the only satellite constellation providing 100-percent truly global communications coverage, according to Iridium officials.
The satellites were delivered into low-Earth orbit approximately one hour after the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on 14 January 2017 at 9:54:39 a.m. PST.
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