Iridium LLC has finally launched the first five of its satellites. In January the company had to abandon the launch of the three satellites four times in as many days (CI No 3,076). This launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, was itself a fourth attempt after the first attempt was stalled by high winds with two subsequent launches scrubbed because of instrument malfunction. The satellites represent the first step in building the Iridium constellation. These first five satellites are functional and will be a part of the full 66- satellite network. After this initial launch, these first satellites will be used to test satellite command and control capabilities and basic hardware and software functionality. The planned Iridium wireless personal telecommunications network aims to permit any type of telephone transmission, including; voice, data, facsimile, and paging – to reach its destination virtually anywhere in the world at any time. The remaining satellites are scheduled to be launched between now and during the middle of 1998 and are intended for worldwide commercial service availability during late 1998.