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 A new maritime satellite communications network is closer to reality after 10 satellites were launched and tests were started.

 Iridium Communications has launched another batch of its next-generation satellites to increase the constellation to 30 and is testing the capabilities of its Iridium Certus broadband service. SpaceX positioned 10 Iridium Next satellites in a low-Earth orbit over the weekend using its Falcon 9 launch vehicle. The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to deploy these satellites, and Iridium now has nearly half of the Next constellation in orbit.

The constellation will deliver the Iridium Certus L-band broadband service to shipping and enable Harris Corp’s and exactEarth’s ship tracking service. Iridium chief executive Matt Desch said the constellation will enable Iridium to offer services that are not “easily replicated by geostationary systems”. He confirmed that the company is on track for completion of the constellation deployment by mid-2018.

A total of 81 Iridium Next satellites are being built, with 66 required for the… Read more Source: Marine Electronics & Communications