Florida Today reports that SpaceX has signed a $492 million contract with Iridium Communications to launch Falcon 9 rockets from Vandenberg AFB in California.
"We are proud to be partnered with SpaceX, and want to congratulate Elon Musk and the entire SpaceX team on its successful inaugural Falcon 9 launch," said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium.
"Hands down, SpaceX offered us the best value coupled with an unwavering commitment to flawless performance and reliability. SpaceX has combined the best of aerospace and commercial best practices to design reliable and cost-effective access to space, and Iridium will be the beneficiary of that effort," he said.
"SpaceX also offered dedicated Iridium NEXT launch slots within its manifest, which currently has 24 Falcon 9 flights scheduled ahead of us, including those for commercial and government customers, during the coming five years. Clearly, SpaceX has established itself as a significant player in the launch industry, and we have great confidence that SpaceX will build on its recent success and continue to cement an impressive track record of successful space flight in advance of our mission."
According to the Iridium web site, the company will "fully replace its current satellite constellation" starting in 2015 with a new 81-satellite system.