SpaceX sticks Falcon 9 landing twice in one weekend

Angie Massey
June 26, 2017

Just over 48 hours after its successful launch of BulgariaSat-1, US space firm SpaceX has successfully completed its second launch on Sunday with liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket from California carrying 10 Iridium-NEXT satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO).

The launch used a orbital-class booster which was recycled and landed safely on a "droneship" in the Pacific Ocean. The 10 Iridium NEXT satellites then were deployed one at a time over 15 minutes or so from a dispenser atop the second stage.

Hawthorne-based aerospace firm SpaceX completed its second successful launch of the weekend Sunday, sending a series of communications satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base. SpaceX's next launch is targeted for mid-July for Intelsat communications satellite, although the date has not yet been confirmed.

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Iridium Next has many goals.

CEO Matt Desch also said that their operations team is awaiting for this new batch of satellites and is geared up to fire up the testing and validation process. Each launch contributes to replacing the world's largest commercial satellite network and the only network that covers 100 percent of the earth.

This was the second launch in SpaceX's campaign to put 75 Iridium NEXT spacecraft into a constellation that's created to provide global high-speed satellite data transmission as well as aircraft tracking and surveillance. In total, 81 new satellites are being built, with nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares. It marked the second time SpaceX has reused a first-stage rocket booster, which flings the payload toward orbit. Together with "Of Course I Still Love You" for Cape Canaveral launches, the company's drone ships - landing platforms in the ocean - take inspiration from sci-fi author Iain M. Banks. Now, two days later, the company will attempt to launch a new Falcon 9 from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base. Having launch schedules closer to each other and being able to launch and land no matter the weather conditions are pretty much prerequisites to such a type of space travel.

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