The delivery of another five Iridium satellites on Sunday, March 22, will bring the total number of operating satellites to 54 on orbit.
The launch is scheduled for 10:41:54 p.m. PST, within a five-second window necessary to place the satellites into coordinated orbits with the other 49 satellites already in orbit. Sunday's Delta mission, will be the second this year for the Iridium System and the eighth launch by a Boeing [NYSE: BA] Delta II for Motorola, prime contractor and manufacturer of the satellite for the Iridium System. The Iridium System is scheduled to provide global, wireless telecommunications later this year.
"The Delta team has a busy launch schedule in 1998 from Vandenberg for the Iridium System, which includes last month's successful mission and two more missions," said Darryl Van Dorn, director of NASA and Commercial Programs. The Iridium System is a global wireless communications network that will combine the worldwide reach of 66 low-Earth-orbit satellites with land-based wireless systems to enable subscribers to communicate using handheld telephones and pagers virtually anywhere in the world.
Iridium is a registered trademark and service mark of Iridium LLC 1998.