Iridium has completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) phase of its NEXT satellite network system, ahead of the scheduled launch in early 2015, the company said Wednesday.
The NEXT satellite system will feature greater bandwidth and improved connection speeds as Iridium looks to expand connectivity beyond the current limitations of ground-based systems. NEXT will also serve as a platform for PRIME, a solution for hosted payloads that Iridium says will provide all elements of a successful hosted payload mission with a cost savings of 50 percent.
"We're very proud of the successful completion of the CDR phase under the direction of our prime contractor Thales Alenia Space," stated Scott Smith, Iridium chief operating officer. "Completing the CDR phase establishes that all components of the satellites will properly function as designed in the dynamic environment of the new constellation, keeping the Iridium NEXT program schedule on track and on budget."
In 2012, Iridium announced the addition of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) receivers to its NEXT satellite constellation. The ADS-B capability is expected to be fully operational by 2017.
Thales Alenia Space is leading the design and construction aspect of the NEXT program and will continue working with Iridium to develop a satellite bus for the hosted payload offering.