Author Topic: Iridium marks new satellite network, 20 healthy satellites & 55 more to launch  (Read 2898 times)

Online Chris Bergin

Feature article from Chris Gebhardt speaking to Matt Desch:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/07/iridium-satellite-network-55-more/

Very interesting read about the satellites, especially as there's so much focus on the rockets.

Offline fthomassy

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 143
  • Austin, Texas
  • Liked: 80
  • Likes Given: 989
Chris G. I'm becoming a fan.  Thank you for your journalism.   ;D
gyatm . . . Fern

Online Chris Bergin

I have to say I didn't know about this! ;D

Quote
So beloved are the original satellites that the operations team has employed a bit of humor to the original constellation’s retirement, creating photos of the satellites in retirement on various tropical beaches or marking the end of their service with gravestones etched with the original satellites names and dates of service.

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8160
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4913
  • Likes Given: 3333
Having a bit of fun

(tweet by @lar_p, that's me)
Quote
https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/07/iridium-satellite-network-55-more/ … Great article! But @IridiumBoss ... make them use a better pic of you next time! #spaceX #iridiumnext
https://twitter.com/lar_p/status/883431917772734464

to which Matt replies:
Quote
Sadly, there are no better pictures of me!
https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/883437059670761475

(it's a pretty awesome article but that pic of Matt??? surely there were better ones)
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Online Chris Bergin

Saw about five public domain ones, mainly on his twitter feed. That one was of him watching the launch. That's emotion. That's why it's the best one. Could have used a portrait one, suit and booted, but no - emotion, that's the ticket.

Offline psloss

  • Veteran armchair spectator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 16844
  • Liked: 950
  • Likes Given: 376
Good stuff from Chris.  The pre-launch Q&A with Mr. Desch was fascinating.

Offline Lar

  • Fan boy at large
  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8160
  • Saw Gemini live on TV
  • A large LEGO storage facility ... in Michigan
  • Liked: 4913
  • Likes Given: 3333
Saw about five public domain ones, mainly on his twitter feed. That one was of him watching the launch. That's emotion. That's why it's the best one. Could have used a portrait one, suit and booted, but no - emotion, that's the ticket.

I'm busting the chops of a CEO ... AND of the bossman of the best space forum around. All in one!

Life is good.
"I think it would be great to be born on Earth and to die on Mars. Just hopefully not at the point of impact." -Elon Musk
"We're a little bit like the dog who caught the bus" - Musk after CRS-8 S1 successfully landed on ASDS OCISLY

Offline CS24

  • Member
  • Member
  • Posts: 13
  • Liked: 0
  • Likes Given: 0
Does anyone know if these new satellites will have the same reflective properties as the original constellation, that produced the "Iridium Flare" (http://www.heavens-above.com/iridiumhelp.aspx)? That would be a sad thing to lose for sky watchers.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3652
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 2431
  • Likes Given: 797
Quote
Personally, I love the pic...  Watching a launch (8 of them!) will be some of the most dramatic moments of my career...

https://twitter.com/iridiumboss/status/883496738669178881

 :)

Offline Sam Ho

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 463
  • Liked: 163
  • Likes Given: 1
Does anyone know if these new satellites will have the same reflective properties as the original constellation, that produced the "Iridium Flare" (http://www.heavens-above.com/iridiumhelp.aspx)? That would be a sad thing to lose for sky watchers.

They won't.

Quote
Totally different Main Mission Antenna (MMA) design.  Current: angular panels. New: flat phased array.  Guess we buy ads now?
https://twitter.com/IridiumBoss/status/826276063055593474

Online FutureSpaceTourist

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3652
  • UK
    • Plan 28
  • Liked: 2431
  • Likes Given: 797
Many thanks for the interesting article. It’s nice to get some perspective on what cheaper launch capability enables.

Reminded me of a recent article where Iridium made clear how important SpaceX is to their plans:

Quote
"We tried to work with other launch vehicle companies but all were at least twice the cost of SpaceX and unaffordable based on the scope of the network we needed to launch," Desch said

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/25/spacex-is-critical-to-iridiums-future-says-ceo-matt-desch.html

Offline Mader Levap

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 914
  • Liked: 371
  • Likes Given: 359
If it is true, market elasticity is greater than some people here predicted. There are already payloads that would not be launched without SpaceX.
Be successful.  Then tell the haters to (BLEEP) off. - deruch
...and if you have failure, tell it anyway.

Offline tleski

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 327
  • Washington, DC
  • Liked: 210
  • Likes Given: 249
Feature article from Chris Gebhardt speaking to Matt Desch:

https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2017/07/iridium-satellite-network-55-more/

Very interesting read about the satellites, especially as there's so much focus on the rockets.

Great read! Thanks, Chris!

Just wanted to point out one inconsistency in Mr. Desch'es quotes when he talks about airplane separation distances:

Quote
“Airplanes today are supposed to be kept 60 miles apart,” said Mr. Desch.

and

Quote
“We needed the network to have a business case on its own.  We knew that the real value was putting airplanes closer together (30 km instead of 60 km), allowing them to climb faster, burn less fuel, save money, reduce carbon emissions,” said Mr. Desch.

Is it 60 kilometers or miles?

Offline Swoopert

Great article, and really interesting, but too many comparative "to"s in the first paragraph for my liking!

Quote from: Chris Gebhardt
The new constellation replaces an aging network and promises innovative, everyday telecommunications applications from airplane location services to maritime distress/communication to public global push-to-talk services to civilian remote wi-fi and cellular network capabilities to thousands of other applications for government, military, and civilian populations.

Having said that, it does illustrate just how many different applications the new tech is delivering!

Offline clongton

  • Expert
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10260
  • Connecticut
    • Direct Launcher
  • Liked: 2021
  • Likes Given: 620
Great article Chris G - thanks. That's the quality of information that keeps me hooked to NSF.
But I do have a question for anyone that might know. The article states that as the new satellite moves in close to the one it's replacing that communications are handed off to the new one and the old one is shut down and deorbited. So why are they deorbiting what is a working satellite? If something happens to the new one, at least the old one could be turned back on until the on-orbit spare comes into range. I know that it cannot come close to what the new one can do, but at least basic communications could be maintained. It would be like booting up your computer in safe mode - loss of a LOT of capability, but basic functionality is restored until it can be fixed/replaced. Without it there would be a total loss of communication for that slot for however long it takes for the on-orbit spare to come along side and take over. Seems like a waste of a functioning spare that's already in position, even if it only provides "some" capability. Isn't something better than nothing? When it finally gives up the ghost, then deorbit it. But keep it around (and available) until then.
Chuck - DIRECT co-founder
I started my career on the Saturn-V F-1A engine

Offline starsilk

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 618
  • Denver
  • Liked: 205
  • Likes Given: 36
Great article Chris G - thanks. That's the quality of information that keeps me hooked to NSF.
But I do have a question for anyone that might know. The article states that as the new satellite moves in close to the one it's replacing that communications are handed off to the new one and the old one is shut down and deorbited. So why are they deorbiting what is a working satellite? If something happens to the new one, at least the old one could be turned back on until the on-orbit spare comes into range. I know that it cannot come close to what the new one can do, but at least basic communications could be maintained. It would be like booting up your computer in safe mode - loss of a LOT of capability, but basic functionality is restored until it can be fixed/replaced. Without it there would be a total loss of communication for that slot for however long it takes for the on-orbit spare to come along side and take over. Seems like a waste of a functioning spare that's already in position, even if it only provides "some" capability. Isn't something better than nothing? When it finally gives up the ghost, then deorbit it. But keep it around (and available) until then.

they are well beyond their expected lifespan. iridium is probably secretly terrified one of them is going to go boom at any moment and fill their orbit with debris. can't wait to get them deorbited...

Offline gongora

  • Global Moderator
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1641
  • US
  • Liked: 1082
  • Likes Given: 862
Great article Chris G - thanks. That's the quality of information that keeps me hooked to NSF.
But I do have a question for anyone that might know. The article states that as the new satellite moves in close to the one it's replacing that communications are handed off to the new one and the old one is shut down and deorbited. So why are they deorbiting what is a working satellite? If something happens to the new one, at least the old one could be turned back on until the on-orbit spare comes into range. I know that it cannot come close to what the new one can do, but at least basic communications could be maintained. It would be like booting up your computer in safe mode - loss of a LOT of capability, but basic functionality is restored until it can be fixed/replaced. Without it there would be a total loss of communication for that slot for however long it takes for the on-orbit spare to come along side and take over. Seems like a waste of a functioning spare that's already in position, even if it only provides "some" capability. Isn't something better than nothing? When it finally gives up the ghost, then deorbit it. But keep it around (and available) until then.

Iridium is putting a few of the older satellites from each plane in a lower parking orbit as emergency spares until the new constellation is finished.  Once the new constellation is up and running well, they will finish deorbiting all of the old ones.

Offline cppetrie

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 307
  • Liked: 146
  • Likes Given: 3
Great article Chris G - thanks. That's the quality of information that keeps me hooked to NSF.
But I do have a question for anyone that might know. The article states that as the new satellite moves in close to the one it's replacing that communications are handed off to the new one and the old one is shut down and deorbited. So why are they deorbiting what is a working satellite? If something happens to the new one, at least the old one could be turned back on until the on-orbit spare comes into range. I know that it cannot come close to what the new one can do, but at least basic communications could be maintained. It would be like booting up your computer in safe mode - loss of a LOT of capability, but basic functionality is restored until it can be fixed/replaced. Without it there would be a total loss of communication for that slot for however long it takes for the on-orbit spare to come along side and take over. Seems like a waste of a functioning spare that's already in position, even if it only provides "some" capability. Isn't something better than nothing? When it finally gives up the ghost, then deorbit it. But keep it around (and available) until then.
AIUI they are preserving several of the old satellites for that exact purpose, but most are being retired (deorbited). Remember, these are long past their design life. Also, these are not GEO sats that sit over the same spot all the time. They are constantly orbiting overhead so the loss of a satellite only means windows of loss of coverage not complete loss of coverage. I don't know how long those windows would be for a single sat loss, but I'd guess not very long. Maybe on the order of 15-30 minutes before a new sat comes into range.

I type too slow on my phone so some of these points were made by a few others before I finished.

edit: I type slow and still missed a typo.
« Last Edit: 07/10/2017 03:57 PM by cppetrie »

Online Hog

  • Full Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 1067
  • Woodstock
  • Liked: 240
  • Likes Given: 545
Does anyone know if these new satellites will have the same reflective properties as the original constellation, that produced the "Iridium Flare" (http://www.heavens-above.com/iridiumhelp.aspx)? That would be a sad thing to lose for sky watchers.
I enjoy those Iridium flares, they are very intense, but short.  I guess I'll have to enjoy them while I can get them, same for ISS.  The ISS will only see 2 Winter and 2 Summer Olympics. Maybe 1 more Summer Olympics if ISS is splashed before Summer-2024.
Paul

Tags: