SpaceX set to launch satellites from California air base

Cesar Mills
June 26, 2017

This is a fairly conventional launch for SpaceX except for one novelty, revealed by SpaceX founder Elon Musk on Saturday night. On Friday, the company launched and landed a reused rocket for the second time to put a Bulgarian TV broadcast satellite into orbit; that mission, originating in Florida, had been delayed to give the team there time to replace a valve, setting up this weekend's "doubleheader". After completing its part of the mission, the 230 foot tall first stage landed on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX has succeeded in landing a Falcon 9 first-stage booster on a vessel in the Pacific after a launch from California. The new fins are a bit heavier, but are designed for multiple re-uses as SpaceX seeks to more toward rapid reuse of its first stage booster.

The first set of Iridium satellites successfully arrived in space thanks to a different Falcon rocket that blasted off in January from Vandenberg.

SpaceX achieved history on Sunday with a rocket launch-an act that the CEO of Iridium Communications told CNBC was "critical" to his company's commercial success. All 10 satellites separated as planned during a 15-minute period that concluded one hour and 12 minutes after liftoff. "Flying with larger & significantly upgraded hypersonic grid fins", Musk tweeted. "Can take reentry heat with no shielding".

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In total SpaceX, which is headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, will launch a series of 75 satellites for Iridium's satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT by 2018. Iridium NEXT is expected to enable new capabilities like global aircraft surveillance and tracking services, as well as a communications platform that the company anticipates will bring broadband speeds to remote locations of the globe.

"Right now, it's two down with six more launches to go", Iridium Chief Executive Matt Desch said in a post-launch statement.

The satellites belong to the communications company Iridium.

Other reports by GizPress

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