The Iridium NEXT program reached an exciting milestone on Sunday, February 19, at approximately 1:30 PM EST. SV106 became the first Iridium NEXT satellite in full commercial service, providing global telephone and data services with the remaining members of the Block 1 fleet. Once SV106 performance is thoroughly verified, SV109 will become the first Iridium NEXT satellite to replace an old Block 1 vehicle in the mission network, and our “technology refresh” will officially be underway!
The Iridium NEXT satellites that remain in their temporary storage orbit will be raised to mission altitude one at a time over the next month or so. Once each of the SVs reach their mission slot, they will be swapped with their Block 1 counterpart. The Iridium Operations Team is proud of the progress they have made and excited about what the future holds for Iridium’s new constellation.
Watch the video below to discover how Iridium proceeds to swap their blocks!