Orbital Sciences Launches Iridium NEXT Production

Orbital-GilbertWe were pleased to note that long time PADT customer Orbital Sciences Corporation is starting production of 81 satellites at its Gilbert, Arizona facility.  This new constellation of satellites will replace the existing constellation of Iridium satellites now in low earth orbit.   It is exciting to see this project moving to this next critical step, and we can’t wait to read about the launches in 2015.  We know that many people at Orbital and at their suppliers have been working hard and long to get to this point. 

AZCentral has a nice video of the ribbon cutting

Satnews Daily has a good article with details about the whole project.

And the Wall Street Journal has a more business look on the project in their article

IridiumNEXTSatConfig
You can learn more about the Iridium NEXT project here

All of us tech-oriented people in Arizona should get excited about this major milestone. Although both Orbital Sciences and Iridium are headquartered in Virginia, both have extensive facilities here in Arizona.  In fact the Iridium business operations is about one quarter of a mile from PADT’s Tempe office  in the ASU Research Park. Satellite design, test, manufacturing and support are big business in the state of Arizona.  Some of the other Arizona based companies involved in making or providing equipment for satellites are: ViaSat, Garmin, General Dynamics, Honeywell Aerospace, Lockheed Martin, Paragon Space Development, and many others. Most are PADT customers.  

Congratulations to everyone involved and a big thanks to the people in the state, county, and city that help set up the Free Trade Zone that helped make it possible.