SpaceX Plans Morning Satellite Launch From Vandenberg AFB

01 April, 2018, 00:46 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • SpaceX Launch Postponed title

All of the satellites are expected to be positioned in orbit by the middle of the year.

In February the company's Falcon Heavy, the world's most powerful rocket, blasted off on its maiden test flight carrying Musk's cherry red Tesla roadster auto.

SpaceX launched the latest batch of Iridium satellites to orbit today atop a reused Falcon 9 rocket. 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.

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"This is the first approval of a USA -licensed satellite constellation to provide broadband services using a new generation of low-Earth orbit satellite technologies", the Federal Communications Commission said in a statement.

The Falcon 9's first stage was previously launched on an Iridium mission last October and was recovered. The video window embedded above will spring to life shortly before the launch and feature commentary from SpaceX while the launch takes place.

After ending live video of Friday's launch, SpaceX used Twitter to provide updates as each satellite separated from the rocket's upper stage. The company attempted such a recovery during a February launch, but the fairing missed the net by "a few hundred meters". It did try to catch part of the fairing, or nose cone, though was unsuccessful, Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said.

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The Iridium project, though less flamboyant, will replace the world's largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites in one of the largest "tech upgrades" in history, Iridium has said. The first time around, SpaceX boss Elon Musk was optimistic that the failure to recover the fairing was due to circumstances which could be controlled in the future, and we'll see today if he was right.

"It's a giant steel and webbing catcher's mitt superstructure on a high-speed ocean ship".

The space company will attempt to catch the fairing - the bulbous nose cone on top of the rocket - using a high speed boat known as "Mr. Steven". This is a protective metal shield used to cover the cargo as the rocket is en route to space and blasts through the atmosphere. On Thursday, marine tracking sites had the ship going out into the Pacific Ocean to a location called Iridium 5, which is the name of the launch. At the moment, we don't have any word on whether or not recovery attempts were successful, but we'll keep an ear to the ground (or an eye to the heavens) for more.

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