Iridium Inches up on Deal with SpaceX

Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) today announced that it has reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch up to five of the company's remaining ground spare satellites from the Iridium® NEXT program, on its Falcon 9 rocket. Known as Iridium-9, the launch is planned to take place at Vandenberg Space Force Base in mid-2023. Earlier this year, Iridium celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first launch in
Iridium's history, which also took place from Vandenberg on May 5, 1997. That first ever launch also carried five Iridium satellites to orbit on a Delta II rocket.

Iridium-9 will be Iridium's second rideshare with SpaceX. Previously, SpaceX conducted eight Iridium launches between January 2017 and January 2019. These launches delivered 75 satellites to LEO as part of the Iridium NEXT campaign, replacing the company's original satellite constellation.

Since completion of the launch campaign in 2019, Iridium has 66 operational satellites, nine on-orbit spares and six additional spares on the ground. Up to five of those six ground spares are planned for launch as part of Iridium-9.

All satellites in the upgraded Iridium constellation were built by Thales Alenia Space and carry the Aireon® hosted payload, which provides truly global, real-time surveillance of aircraft around the world.

IRDM shares gathered 50 cents, or 1.1%, to $44.36.