It is hard to imagine the successful Iridium Satellite actually started as spacecraft mock up design built in a garage in Santa Clara, California in the early 1990’s. This was the first prototype that initiated the way to designing and construction of the first engineering models. This very design has been the basis of the largest number of satellites that have been deployed in low earth orbit. Iridium shares its 77 satellites with the atomic number 77 of the metal Iridium. The initial calculations had shown that a total of 77 satellites would be needed for complete blanket coverage of the Earth for communication Services, however, it was only 66 that were needed for a complete cover. The Iridium network is unique in the way that it covers the Earth in totality including poles, airways and oceans. These satellites are the reason why we are now capable to communicating worldwide through data and voice communication via our handheld devices. It is also amazing that there are websites that lists all the Iridium Satellites and you can actually click on each of the track button and check the movement of the satellites. (N2YO.com)
On the 29th of March, 2018 SpaceX Falcon9 rocket was successful in launching and deploying 10 new satellites for Iridium Communications. The satellites were released into the low Earth orbit and have been communicating with the network operation centre. The plan is to completely replace the old with the new set of 75 satellites which is estimated to cost around $3 billion by the end of this year.
By: Madhuchanda Saxena