NASA and Iridium will share a SpaceX rocket to get their satellites into orbit

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Satellite operator Iridium announced today that five of its Iridium NEXT satellites will share a ride to space with two NASA satellites. The seven probes will launch on one of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets in early 2018. It’s the eighth Falcon 9 launch that Iridium has contracted from SpaceX, and the first rideshare to space for the communications company. The NASA satellites going along for the ride are two GRACE-FO spacecraft — built with the GFZ German Research Center for Geosciences that will create maps of Earth’s gravity field.

“This is a very smart way to get additional Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit,” Matt Desch, Iridium’s CEO, said in a statement….

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