SpaceX Successfully Delivered 10 Iridium Communication Satellites to Low Earth Orbit
SpaceX returned to flight Saturday using its Falcon 9 rocket to successfully deliver 10 satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for the Iridium NEXT Mission.
While the Iridium NEXT mission is unprecedented, most of the buzz surrounding the launch is due to the last year’s Sept. 1st launch pad explosion.
The explosion destroyed the $200 million Amos-6 satellite along with a Falcon 9 rocket prompting an investigation and was forcing SpaceX to cease its launches.
Today’s return to launch was the first following the 4-month long investigation making its success even more crucial. The Falcon 9 launched from the Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54 a.m. PST.
The satellites began 59 minutes after launch while the Flacon -9’s first and second stages separated and headed back towards Earth landing on SpaceX’s drone strip Just Read the Instructions 8 minute later.
The 10 satellites are the first of 70 Iridium satellites that SpaceX will be launching. Iridium’s NEXT project is the “largest tech upgrade in history” as it will be replacing all of its current satellites.
After the project is complete, Iridium will have created a new cross-linked LEO constellation network of communication satellites that will provide communications coverage for every inch of the earth.
Iridium NEXT’s goal is to is to create a multi-service communications platform that will deliver faster speeds across multiple industry verticals. Unprecedented in the industry, and is poised to disrupt the current market status quo. The service is set to be commercially available this year.