The first ten of eleven OrbComm satellites were deployed in opposing pairs at five different times. The 2nd stage performed roll maneuvers to make sure the initial velocity and/or attitude were optimal. Special thanks to whomever for the forethought of putting the moon in the field of view to make this historic sequence both even more visually rich and educational. At the top you can see the opposing satellite deployed symmetrically at the same time as one at the bottom of the view.

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above: SpaceX deployment of the OrbComm-2 satellites GIF made from cropped screenshots of the SpaceX technical broadcast.

However, the Iridium satellites are in a pentagonal arrangement. Will they be deployed as vertical pairs (doubtful - too close together) or perhaps offset pairs - not exactly coplanar along with the 2nd stage axis?

below: Iridium satellites configured for launch by SpaceX Falcon 9, from Iridium Tweet.

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1 Answer 1


According to the webcast (at T+01:00:25) they were released one at a time, 100 seconds apart.

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    $\begingroup$ @oefe We discovered here that sometimes after a day or so SpaceX will re-upload a final edit of the broadcast, removing the leading 10 minutes of music (and improving the resolution), and therefore shifting the start time. Links to YouTube containing time odes all started pointing to the wrong times. It's helpful to check back and update your link in a day or two, and always also include a reference to the actual launch time - in this case 01:00:25. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 0:56
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh Thanks for the tip. I was aware that I might have to update the link, but didn't think of using the launch time as stable reference. Link is updated now. $\endgroup$
    – oefe
    Commented Jan 15, 2017 at 17:10

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