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Iridium signs launch contract with SpaceX
Posted: Thu, Jun 17, 2010, 7:10 AM ET (1110 GMT)
Falcon 9 launch on first mission (SpaceX) Communications satellite company Iridium announced Wednesday a nearly $500-million contract with SpaceX to launch its next generation of satellites. The $492-million contract covers an unspecified number of launches of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carrying Iridium NEXT satellites. Those launches are scheduled to take place from 2015 to 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Each Falcon 9 will launch several Iridium satellites, although the exact number will depend on the final size of the next-generation spacecraft. The contract is designed to cover the launch of the entire 72-satellite constellation, although Iridium also plans to sign a contract with at least one other launch provider to serve as a backup. The launches will take place from a Vandenberg pad previously used by the Titan 4; SpaceX estimates it will take $50 million and two years to refurbish the pad for Falcon 9 launches.
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