Thursday, 13 December, 2018

SpaceX launches rocket with satellites from Vandenberg AFB

Here's why you don't want to miss SpaceX's launch Friday SpaceX via CNN
| 02 April, 2018, 00:58

Iridium confirmed the health of the satellites in a post-launch release, saying all 10 "have successfully communicated with the Iridium Satellite Network Operations Center and are preparing to begin testing".

The rocket, which was previously used for the Iridium 3 launch back in October, lifted off from the SpaceX Launch Complex Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 10:13 ET.

"Iridium NEXT will replace the world's largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest "tech upgrades" in history", SpaceX said in a press kit.

The Iridium-5 NEXT Mission marked the fifth set of 10 satellites that Musk's SpaceX has launched for its customer's Iridium NEXT global satellite constellation.

Musk, who is also the co-founder and chief executive of electric automaker Tesla Inc., said in 2015 that SpaceX planned to launch a satellite-internet business that would help fund a future city on Mars. The launch scheduled at the end of April will mark the debut of Falcon 9 Block V which is the new generation of rockets made especially to be used for 10s and 100s of times after inspection and refurbishment. As SpaceX brings about a new variation of the Falcon 9 booster, known as "Block 5", older models are being discarded through expendable missions. Iridium has tapped SpaceX to launch 75 Iridium Next satellites to build up their communications constellation in orbit.

Iridium, based in McLean, Virginia, provides mobile voice and data communications. With Friday's launch, there were 50 newer-style Iridium satellites in space.


SpaceX was chosen to launch a constellation of 75 satellites in eight missions. The remaining three launches are expected to be completed over the next several months.

The launch took place on schedule at 7.13 a.m.

However, it did try to land the fairing - the rocket's nose cone - on a SpaceX-owned boat named "Mr Steven", which is equipped with a huge net.

In one departure from typical SpaceX launches, the company cut the live video feed from the Falcon 9 second stage about 9 minutes into the flight.

"GPS guided parafoil twisted, so fairing impacted water at high speed", he said on Twitter.

Musk said SpaceX will conduct helicopter drop tests with payload fairings in the coming weeks to improve recovery efforts.

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