Re: Iridium satellites

From: Anthony Ayiomamitis (
Date: Wed Jun 20 2001 - 14:20:53 PDT

  • Next message: Rod Sladen: "Re: Iridium satellites"

    > Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 17:05:29 EDT
    > From:
    > To:
    > I recently watched a taped documentary in which it was mentioned that there
    > were some 70 iridium satellites in orbit, and that 13 had failed. The date of
    > this documentary is in question. Will someone please answer the following for
    Hi Rob,
         I would agree with you that the date of the documentary is questionable by
    this figure alone ...
    > me.
    > 1: How many Iridium satellites are in orbit now?
         On the basis of the available TLE's from NASA and others, the current number
    is 87 ...
    > 2: Are they numbered in sequence?
         Yes they are but I have read somewhere that there is a proposal/plan to start
    using earlier numbers of failed satellites. For example, the most recently failed
    Iridium (#48) ... there is also a clean break in the 70-series from what I recall
    > 3: How many are still operational at this time?
          It is my understanding that plans for 11 satellites in each of the six
    predesigned orbital planes has yet to materialize. As a result, the number of
    operational ones would seem to be less than 66. However, note that a number of
    those already in orbit are not stable (ex. #2, #9, #20, #69 and #72 ... I think #14
    is also part of the group) and a further number have yet to reach operational
           I am sure experts here will have further details with respect to the above
    as my experience with Iridiums is very recent.
    > Thanks all,
    > R. Morgan
    > Carson City, Nevada (USA)
    > 39deg 11min N  -119deg 45min W el: 1433m(4700ft)
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