(Photo by Flickr user ORBCOMM used under public domain)
A SpaceX launch in California last weekend rightfully got lots of attention for launching two rockets in two days.
For a McLean, Va., satellite company, however, the focus was on what didn’t return to the ground. Ten of Iridium Communications‘ satellites were onboard the Falcon 9.
Launch at 1:25 delivering 10 satellites for Iridium. Droneship repositioned due to extreme weather. Will be tight. https://t.co/6ZcSG29B74
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 25, 2017
Ultimately, the satellites were successfully deployed from the rocket, which launched on June 25 from Vandenburg Air Force Base. That brings the company’s total to 20 satellites in orbit.
Successful deployment of 10 @IridiumComm NEXT satellites to low-Earth orbit confirmed.
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) June 25, 2017
The company is looking to create a network that can provide a global tracking and surveillance service for aircraft. The effort is being developed through a partnership with Aireon. The companies state that the technology will allow planes to be spotted around the globe. Right now, there are blind spots due to a lack of ground-based infrastructure in remote areas and oceans.
Iridium isn’t done launching. The company will send a total of 75 satellites into space via SpaceX.
“Right now, it’s two down with six more launches to go,” Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium said in a statement. “Our operations team is eagerly awaiting this new batch of satellites and is ready to begin the testing and validation process.”