MCLEAN, Va. – Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq:IRDM) announced it has received a targeted launch date of mid-June for the second mission of ten Iridium NEXT satellites. Originally anticipated for mid-April of 2017, the date has shifted due to a backlog in SpaceX's launch manifest as a result of last year's September 1st anomaly. This second launch will deliver another ten Iridium NEXT satellites to low-Earth-orbit (LEO) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX is targeting six subsequent Iridium NEXT launches approximately every two months thereafter.
After such a successful first launch, we are eager to maintain the momentum until our network is completed, said Matt Desch, chief executive officer at Iridium. Even with this eight week shift, SpaceX's targeted schedule completes our constellation in mid-2018.
This announcement comes as Iridium has successfully connected the first Iridium NEXT satellite via its crosslinks into its global LEO constellation. The new satellite is expected to begin providing service to Iridium customers in the coming days. This marks a major milestone for the Iridium NEXT program as the testing and validation phase is ahead of schedule and the satellites are working well.
Our team at our Satellite Network Operations Center has been working around-the-clock to confirm the health and performance of these new satellites, said Scott Smith, chief operating officer at Iridium. Since their perfect orbit injection and deployment by SpaceX, our satellite testing process has progressed ahead of schedule, a testament to the rigorous development program they've undergone on the ground.
The upcoming mid-June launch will mark the second mission of eight Iridium NEXT launches with SpaceX, including the recently announced satellite rideshare with NASA and GFZ's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on mission (GRACE-FO). In total, Iridium currently has plans to launch 75 Iridium NEXT satellites “ 66 to serve as operational satellites and nine as on-orbit spares.
For additional information about Iridium NEXT, please go to www.iridiumnext.com.
About Iridium Communications Inc.
Iridium® is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe. Iridium enables connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere, in real time. Together with its ecosystem of partner companies, Iridium delivers an innovative and rich portfolio of reliable solutions for markets that require truly global communications. The company has a major development program underway for its next-generation network ” Iridium NEXT. Iridium Communications Inc. is headquartered in McLean, Va., U.S.A., and its common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker symbol IRDM. For more information about Iridium products, services and partner solutions, visit www.iridium.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this press release that are not purely historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The Company has based these statements on its current expectations and the information currently available to us. Forward-looking statements in this presentation include statements regarding the timing for launch, deployment, development and capabilities of individual Iridium NEXT satellites and the Iridium NEXT constellation. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words anticipates, may, can, believes, expects, projects, intends, likely, will, to be and other expressions that are predictions or indicate future events, trends or prospects. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Iridium to differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, uncertainties regarding potential delays in the Iridium NEXT launch and deployment, the development and functionality of Iridium NEXT and related services, and the company's ability to maintain the health, capacity and content of its satellite constellation, as well as general industry and economic conditions, and competitive, legal, governmental and technological factors. Other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements include those factors listed under the caption Risk Factors in the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) on February 25, 2016, as well as other filings Iridium makes with the SEC from time to time. There is no assurance that Iridium's expectations will be realized. If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if Iridium’s underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Iridium’s forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Iridium undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.