A SpaceX rocket delivered 10 satellites to the low Earth orbit, completing a two-year campaign of Iridium Communications Inc. to replace its original fleet with a new generation of mobile communication technology and adding aircraft tracking capabilities global.
The Falcon 9 rocket left the Vandenberg Air Base on Friday morning and climbed over the Pacific west of Los Angeles.
The first stage previously used was recovered again with a bullseye landing on a "droneship" in the ocean while the top
The eighth and last launch of the $ 3 billion Iridium NEXT project ($ A4.2b) completed the delivery of 75 new satellites in orbit.
Sixty-six will be operational and nine will serve as spare parts in orbit. Another six satellites remain on the ground as spare parts.
Iridium has moved its new satellites to positions that have been held by the old ones, which are lowered until they burn out in the atmosphere. So far, 60 new satellites are in operation.
The first Iridium satellites were launched in the 1990s to offer voice, data, fax and paging services to customers with handheld phones and Iridium pagers.
Among the new features enabled by the fleet upgrade is Iridium Certus, described as a broadband solution for purposes ranging from life security services to command and control of unmanned aircraft systems and tracking.
Iridium NEXT satellites also have a system of Aireon LLC for the space base air traffic surveillance exceeds 100% of the globe.
The Aireon system collects known data as automatic surveillance data in automatic transmission and in real time, even from remote areas in the world's oceans.
"Today we have passed a milestone in our journey to revolutionize air traffic surveillance and are just weeks away from a fully operational system," Aireon CEO Don Thoma said in a statement.
"Now that the lan Complete and definitive integration and verification of recently launched payloads can begin, after which the world's first real-time air traffic vision will be a reality."  Aireon said he is already processing more than 13 billion ADS-B messages per month.
Another difference with the new satellites is the skywatchers: no "Iridium flares". The new satellites do not reflect sunlight like old men did.
Australian Associated Press