This past January’s successful launch of the first ten next-generation Iridium NEXT satellites aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set a new record for Bradford Engineering. Each Iridium NEXT satellite was built with 8 Bradford Cosine Sun Sensors. In all, a total of 80 Bradford-built components were aboard this launch, a record for a single launch.

This launch is only the first of many launches: the full on-orbit constellation will consist of 72 satellites spread over an additional 7 launches. Over that period, a total of 576 Bradford Cosine Sun Sensors will be launched into space, the largest ever production run in Bradford’s history. Noted Bradford’s Chairman, Leonard M. Levie “This is an achievement of high quality, high volume production for commercial space projects. We hope to build on this success.” Bradford Director Ian Fichtenbaum added, “Commercial space projects are always demanding by way of cost and timeliness and we were glad to have met expectations with such a significant order”.

The Iridium NEXT satellites have been designed and built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor. Said Patrick van Put, Bradford’s Technical and Business Director”, Bradford was pleased to be part of the exceptional team that accomplished this great project. We hope to be collaborating with this team again”.

Founded in 1984, Bradford ( is a Netherlands-based supplier of Attitude and Orbit Control Systems (AOCS), Propulsion, Avionics and Thermal solutions for spacecraft. Bradford is a member of the AIAC Group portfolio of companies. The AIAC Group consists of a network of 65 facilities in 17 countries, fabricating a variety of products, including insulated wire, precision tubing, castings, forgings, 3D printed parts, spacecraft components, printed circuit boards, fabricated and machined components, portable generators, fire extinguishing equipment, and pharmaceuticals.