McLean, Va. - With the planned commencement of the launch of its next-generation satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT, less than 36 months away, Iridium announced the completion of the satellite preliminary design review phase of the program. This phase concludes the preliminary design and specifications for all elements of the satellite system, including payload, main mission antenna, feeder links and cross links.
“The foundation for Iridium NEXT satellite design is complete,” said Scott Smith, executive vice president, Iridium NEXT. “By successfully finalizing the first phase of the program design process, our engineers and partners, under the direction of our prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space, have now begun the detailed design phase, which includes building prototype hardware of all elements, including satellites, antennas and ground infrastructure.”
Iridium NEXT is on track to further Iridium's position as a vital player in the global communications infrastructure.
By completing the preliminary design phase of Iridium NEXT satellites, Iridium and its partners will now begin constructing engineering model units, which will be used to verify the design and performance of the system prior to full construction, starting in 2013. Iridium expects to complete its constellation (Space Segment) Critical Design Review Phase in early 2013.
Among the prototypes under construction are the constellation’s feeder links and cross links, which will be responsible for communicating to ground stations and between satellites, respectively. Payload and main mission antennas will also be built and tested to ensure reliability, resilience and compatibility.