LOS ANGELES – The SpaceX spacecraft launched 10 Earth-low orbit satellites on Friday and completed a two-year campaign by Iridium Communications Inc., which replaced the original fleet with a new generation of mobile communications technologies and added global aircraft tracking capability.
The Falcon 9 rocket shot from the Vandenberg Air Base at 7:31 and swung across the Pacific West of Los Angeles. The previously used first phase was again recovered with the bullseye landing on the "droneship" in the ocean while the upper stage continued in the orbit.
The eighth and final launch of the $ 3 billion Iridium NEXT project has completed the delivery of 75 new orbit satellites to McLean, Virginia. Sixteen six will be functional and nine will serve as a spare orbit. Six other satellites remain on the ground as spare parts.
All 10 newly launched satellites communicated with the Iridium network center and was ready for testing.
Iridium moved his new satellites to the positions that were held by the old ones, which were launched until they were burned in the atmosphere. So far, 60 new satellites are in operation.
The first Iridium satellites were launched in the 1990s and offered voice, data, fax and paging services to Iridium mobile phones and pagers.
Among the new possibilities that fleet innovation has enabled is Iridium Certus, which is described as a broadband solution for security services, to control and control of unmanned aircraft and tracking systems.
Iridium NEXT satellites also carry Aireon LLC for space-based air traffic monitoring over 100 percent of the globe.
Aireon automatically and in real time collects what is known as automatic detection of dependence on the observed date, even from remote areas above the oceans of the world.
"Today, we have achieved a milestone on our path to the revolution in air traffic control and are just a few weeks away from a fully functional system," said Don Thoma, CEO of Aireon. "After completing the start-ups, it will be possible to begin the final integration and testing of the newly-launched payloads, which will provide a real world view of air traffic in real time.
Aireon said it has already processed more than 13 billion ADS-B messages per month.
Other differences with new satellites are notable for skywatchers: no "Iridium Flares". The new satellites do not reflect the sunlight just like the old ones.