SpaceX successfully launched the eighth and final set of satellites in a series of 75 total satellites for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT, on Friday, January 11 at 7:31 a.m. PST, 15:31 UTC. Falcon 9’s first stage delivered the second stage to its targeted orbit followed by deployment of all 10 Iridium NEXT satellites approximately 1 hour and 12 minutes after launch.
SpaceX’s all 10 Iridium satellites have been successfully deployed to low-Earth orbit.With a successful takeoff, SpaceX also landed its Falcon 9 rocket on one of its drone ships following liftoff, bringing its total number of successful booster landings to 33. The flight was called Iridium-8 Mission marking the final deployment of a 75-strong NEXT satellite constellation for Iridium, set to provide upgraded telecommunications coverage from low Earth orbit.
The Iridium-8 mission launched from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at California’s Vandenburg Air Force Base at 1531 UTC, sending into orbit the remaining 10 satellites on the company’s books for Iridium’s next-generation global satellite constellation. Following stage separation, the first stage of Falcon 9 successfully landed on the “Just Read the Instructions” droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean. Falcon 9’s first stage for the Iridium-8 mission previously supported the Telstar 18 VANTAGE mission in September 2018.