Iridium and SpaceX Successfully Complete Dispenser Qualification TestsTrio of Tests Prove Structural Integrity and Durability of Launch EquipmentIridium Communications Inc. IRDM +0.01% and SpaceX today announced the successful completion of dispenser qualification testing for the Iridium NEXT constellation. The dispenser is the mission-unique assembly that holds the satellites during launch and manages the perfectly timed separation of each satellite from the rocket, placing each of the satellites into its proper orbit. The testing program, a key milestone in the Iridium NEXT constellation build, included four types of testing on the satellite dispenser: fit check, separation and shock testing, a modal survey, and static loads testing. Overall the tests ensure launch shock environment, mechanical form, fit and function, separation dynamics, fundamental frequency and structural integrity.SpaceX is charged with delivering the majority of satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation into their low Earth orbit. At each launch, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will carry 10 satellites. In total, SpaceX will launch 70 satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation over a planned period of two years. Iridium is SpaceX's largest commercial customer, and, with an investment of $453.1 million, the Iridium deal represents the largest single commercial space launch contract in history.>>
Iridium NEXT first launch date set for Dec 16 at 12:36 PST, pending regulatory approvals #NEXTevolution
Peter B. de Selding @pbdesIndustry officials: looks like SpaceX return to flight w/ 10 IRDM sats from VAFB will slip into early January. Had been set for Dec 16.
We are finalizing the investigation into our September 1 anomaly and are working to complete the final steps necessary to safely and reliably return to flight, now in early January with the launch of Iridium-1. This allows for additional time to close-out vehicle preparations and complete extended testing to help ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to launch.
Matt Desch @IridiumBossOur first 10 #IridiumNEXT satellites are all fueled now, tucked in and dreaming of flying in space. Very. Soon. Happy Holidays!10:29 AM - 25 Dec 2016
SpaceX @SpaceX 9m9 minutes agoTargeting return to flight from Vandenberg with the @IridiumComm NEXT launch on January 8. Update:
“Iridium is pleased with SpaceX’s announcement and targeted launch date of January 8 for the first #IridiumNEXT launch. #NEXTevolution
Our date is now public. Next Sunday morning, Jan 8 at 10:28:07 pst. Iridium NEXT launch #1 flies!