Let’s see–here’s my ROM. As many as nine or ten Vandenberg launches with a massive amount of weight to orbit margin assuming a stack of five or six satellites. Perhaps other customers will emerge to use up some of that margin, but that adds complexity regarding integration, insurance, and the likes.
Do you think the success of the recent Falcon 9 mission had anything to do with the timing of this announcement? I’d guess the terms were agreed to pre-Falcon 9 with some sort of verbiage regarding ‘pending successful demonstration of Falcon 9 vehicle.’
Iridium is getting a super deal on the satellites and SpaceX clearly needs other customers than the U.S. government.