Iridium & SpaceX are the joys of capitalism in space. Bob Zimmerman,

Jun 24, 2017, 03:05 AM

06-23-2017 (Photo: This satellite is the heart of a space-based communications system called Iridium. Conceived, designed, and built by Motorola, the Iridium system provides wireless, mobile communications through a network of 66 satellites in polar, low-Earth orbits. Inaugurated in November 1998, under the auspices of Iridium LLC, this complex space system allowed callers using hand-held mobile phones and pagers to communicate anywhere in the world--a first in the history of telephony. [1] Date 25 November 2008, 16:06:08 Source originally posted to Flickr as Iridium Satellite Author ) Twitter: @BatchelorShow

Iridium & SpaceX are the joys of capitalism in space. Bob Zimmerman,

Capitalism in space: Iridium is considering using Falcon 9 previously flown first stages for its later already contracted launches with SpaceX.

Iridium is launching 75 of its 81 second-generation Iridium Next satellites using eight Falcon 9 launches, the first of which took place Jan. 14. In a conference call with reporters June 19, Desch said Iridium’s original contract with SpaceX calls for new Falcon 9s for each mission, but if SpaceX can improve its launch schedule with pre-flown stages, Iridium would consider them for missions in 2018. “While we are currently flying first flown launches, I’m open to previously flown launches, particularly for the second half of our launch schedule,” said Desch.

Desch said there are three criterion by which Iridium would decide whether to use a pre-flown rocket: schedule, cost and reliability — of which schedule is the most important. “Would [pre-flown rockets] improve the current launch plan that I have with brand-new rockets that I’ve basically contracted for a number of years ago and have budgeted for and have paid for?” Desch asked. “That’s the first thing: will they improve my schedule, because schedule to me is very very important.” I think this tells us that Iridium is waiting to see if this week’s launch of a Bulgarian satellite on a reused first stage is successful. The article also also notes that they are still negotiating over price for using “flight proven” first stages.