SpaceX, which launched the Telstar 19 communications satellite for Canadian satellite communications company Telesat just three days ago has now successfully deployed 10 satellites for Iridium Communications. These 10 satellites are part of the massive $3 billion network of satellite telephone relay stations called as Iridium NEXT. With the addition of these 10 satellites to the constellation, the total number of satellites deployed by SpaceX for Iridium has now become 65.
As per a report by CBSNews, SpaceX was able to recover the first phase of the rocket which landed on the unmanned drone-ship "Just Read The Instructions". However, there is still no word on whether there was a successful recovery of the nose fairing of the aircraft, which as per the report, was carried out in the roughest weather ever for a Falcon 9 landing attempt.
Elon Musk-backed SpaceX will now launch the remaining 10 satellites sometime later this year. The report states that after total deployment, 66 of the 75 satellites will be providing global coverage by operating in six orbital planes.
The other satellites will be orbiting as spares and there will be six additional on the ground in reserve for launch if needed. Apart from that Iridium also has plans of offering an "internet of things" service which will be transferring data with devices connected to the internet anywhere in the world.
The satellites also carry payloads for global real-time aircraft tracking and a ship-tracking service. The old Iridium satellites are slowly being deorbited so that they do not collide with other satellites in the lower Earth orbit.