SpaceX Iridium Successfully Launches From Vandenberg Air Force Base
13 January, 2019, 22:10 | Author: Kelly Sanders
"Iridium is the only satellite communications network that spans the entire globe and Iridium NEXT is one of the largest "tech upgrades" in space history", SpaceX said in a statement.
The rocket is expected to carry 10 satellites from Iridium into orbit.
Including new boosters that have arrived at their launch pads but have yet to launch, SpaceX's skilled production and testing team managed to ship, test, and deliver an impressive 1 to 1.5 Falcon 9 boosters, 1-2 upper stages, and 3-4 payload fairing halves on average each month.
Once all 10 commercial satellites have been released, Iridium Next will have 75 spacecraft in orbit, with 66 of those used for the constellation and the others serving as in-orbit spares.
The rocket lifted off at 7:31 a.m. Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base and arced over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles.
Friday s launch was SpaceX s eighth and final in a series for Iridium, which is headquartered in Virginia. This will be the company's first landing attempt since a stage launched December 5 malfunctioned and "landed" in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Canaveral. Deployment of the satellites is scheduled to be completed a little over an hour after liftoff.
Iridium has been moving its new satellites into positions that were held by the old ones, which are lowered until they burn up in the atmosphere.
Iridium is deorbiting its original fleet of satellites.
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