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SpaceX launches 10 more Iridium NEXT comsats (and a bunch of Virtex-5QV FPGAs) into orbit

by Xilinx Employee ‎10-10-2017 02:43 PM - edited ‎10-10-2017 02:47 PM (28,431 Views)


On Monday, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California successfully placed ten more Iridium NEXT communications satellites into low-earth orbit (LEO). This is the third such Iridium launch for SpaceX, which means that the company has placed 30 of the planned 75 Iridium NEXT comsats into LEO. (There will be 81 Iridium satellites in the completed constellation.) Each of the ten Iridium NEXT satellites in this launch incorporates several Xilinx space-grade Virtex-5QV FPGAs used to implement the satellites’ On Board Processor (OBP) hardware developed by SEAKR Engineering. (Space-grade Virtex-5QV FPGAs are the radiation-hardened version of commercial Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs and were developed under sponsorship by AFRL's Space Vehicles Directorate.)


SpaceX has posted a YouTube video of the launch that lasts 90 minutes, but assuming you don’t have time for that, here’s a 6-minute version from SciNews that starts with a 10-second countdown and ends with the successful recovery of the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage on the landing droneship named “Just Read the Instructions”:




For more information on the Iridium NEXT program, see “Last week’s SpaceX launch successfully put 10 Iridium NEXT satellites (with dozens of Xilinx FPGAs) into low-earth orbit.”