SpaceX launches 10 satellites from California air base

Ivan Schwartz
June 26, 2017

On Friday 23rd June Space X launched the BulgariaSat-1 mission which launched Bulgaria's first geostationary communications satellite from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

No matter what you did over the weekend, you'll struggle to top Elon Musk's after his space trucking venture launched 11 satellites atop two rockets, both of which stuck ideal landings on barges. Iridium comes as SpaceX's ninth rocket launch for 2017 - the most the company has completed in just a single year.

The launch used a orbital-class booster which was recycled and landed safely on a "droneship" in the Pacific Ocean.

The reused first stage booster landed on SpaceX's "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship floating in the Atlantic Ocean, and is expected to trot back to shore this Monday.

He had already warned in an earlier tweet that the Falcon 9 would experience greater forces than in its virgin mission earlier in the year, saying: "Falcon 9 will experience its highest ever reentry force and heat in today's launch".

The private space company confirmed that the 10 satellites were successfully deployed as per the plan. The second launch sent up a group of satellites to join the 10 satellites that were positioned in January of 2017.

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SpaceX set to launch satellites from California air base
This is a fairly conventional launch for SpaceX except for one novelty, revealed by SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Saturday night. SpaceX has succeeded in landing a Falcon 9 first-stage booster on a vessel in the Pacific after a launch from California.

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SpaceX rocket launches will be in line with the IridiumNEXT, in preparation for the launches, the American aerospace manufacturer conducted a static fire test on June 20.

The Falcon 9 rocket for the mission sported redesigned, larger titanium hypersonic grid fins created to withstand the heat of reentry without shielding and help guide the returning booster despite strong winds. The German Research Center for Geosciences, which is partnering with NASA on the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on, or GRACE-FO, mission will reimburse Iridium for $31.8 million of the final $67.9 million launch tab, said Allison Carollo, a spokeswoman for Iridium.

Mr Musk also posted a sped up video of the rocket landing on Instagram.

The Falcon's second stage is continuing to carry the satellites toward orbit.

However, Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a statement that Iridium has six more launches scheduled over the following 12 months, The Verge reported. But SpaceX is proving that recovering a rocket from its launch is also fast proving to be routine.

By refurbishing used rockets, the company is able to save tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars to build custom rockets for each mission.

Other reports by GizPress

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