Orbital wins systems integration contract from Thales Alenia Space for Iridium NEXT satellites

DULLES, Va., 28 Jan. 2011. Orbital Sciences Corp. won a systems integration and test contract with Thales Alenia Space, the prime contractor for Iridium NEXT, the next-generation satellite constellation of Iridium Communications Inc. of McLean, Va.

Jan 28th, 2011
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Posted by Courtney E. HowardDULLES, Va., 28 Jan. 2011. Orbital Sciences Corp. won a systems integration and test contract with Thales Alenia Space, the prime contractor for Iridium NEXT, the next-generation satelliteconstellation of Iridium Communications Inc. of McLean, Va. Under the new contract, Orbital engineers will integrate the communications payloads and platforms of the low-Earth-orbit Iridium NEXT satellites being built by Thales Alenia. Staff will also test the systems at Orbital’s manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Ariz. “The selection of Orbital is the result of a competitive process to identify the most efficient approach to meeting the challenging requirements for the production of a large constellation such as Iridium NEXT,” explains Reynald Seznec, president and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. “Orbital and Thales Alenia have been working together for several years, establishing a long relationship through multiple successful joint programs.” “With this contract, Orbital becomes part of the most significant commercial space project in the world,” says Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “Orbital–like Iridium–is a longtime and trusted U.S. Government partner, which should advance the objective of hosting payloads on our new satellites for projects, such as Earth observation, scientific monitoring, and space situational awareness.” “We believe that the hosted payload concept will grow significantly in the future as government space programs look for opportunities to carry out their mission in the most cost-effective and time critical manner,” says Michael Hamel, Orbital senior vice president of corporate strategy. “We are already seeing numerous examples of government space program customers taking advantage of the regularity of commercial satellite deployments and their demonstrated high rates of reliability. In a time of tight budgets, we see hosted payloads as great value to the customer community and intend to be at the forefront of the growth trend.”
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