Iridium Vets NEXT Satellites at Compact Antenna Test Range – Satellite Today

Thales Iridium NEXT

Thales Alenia Space’s representation of the Iridium NEXT constellation at the 2015 Paris Air Show. Photo: Photopointcom Thales

[Via Satellite 07-15-2015] Iridium has successfully completed the Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) evaluation of its Iridium NEXT satellites. The CATR testing is the simultaneous full power antenna testing of the main mission antenna, the feeder link antenna and the crosslink antennas in a radiated environment. It is the first time that a complete Iridium NEXT payload has been powered on — both L band and Ka band. The test concurrently demonstrated and verified the simultaneous operation of the Iridium satellite communications capability and the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receiver hosted payload functionality for Aireon’s space-based aircraft tracking service.

The Iridium NEXT satellite network is designed with 66 in-orbit satellites and a number of in-orbit spares for global coverage. Iridium is launching the first two satellites aboard a Dnepr rocket, with the remaining satellites to launch aboard seven SpaceX Falcon 9 missions.

“The CATR testing ensures satellite functionality and communication with the payload,” said Scott Smith, chief operating officer at Iridium. “The testing was very successful, which brings us a crucial step closer to launch.”

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