The launch of Iridium NEXT is less than 36 months away and we recently announced that we’ve passed a critical milestone in the process. We’ve completed the satellite preliminary design review phase.

Through all of this, our partners have been amazing. They’re a tremendous group of innovative professionals who are very excited about building this next-generation network. Together, we will continue to connect organizations and people in ways never before thought possible.

By completing this phase, the Iridium NEXT Mission Team will now begin constructing engineering model units that will be used to verify the design and performance of the system prior to full construction start in 2013. Below is a top-level, year-by-year summary of what to expect in the in the evolution of the Iridium NEXT constellation:

  • 2012: Detailed hardware and software design culminating in the Space Segment Critical Design Review (CDR) in early 2013
  • 2013: Initial space and launch vehicle hardware production and extensive performance testing to ensure it meets its requirements
  • 2014: Satellite and launcher/dispenser level qualification testing and the initiation of satellite low-rate production in preparation for the first launch
  • 2015: First year of launching and integrating Iridium NEXT satellite vehicles into the Iridium® constellation; transition to full-rate production
  • 2016: Second year of launching and integrating the Iridium NEXT satellite vehicles
  • 2017: Planned complete constellation replacement with Iridium NEXT fully operational

For more information about the announcement, please click here.