SpaceX successfully performed its 14th launch this year when its Falcon 9 rocketed 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Monday. This is also the space company’s third launch of the eight scheduled for the Iridium, which is a satellite telephone operator.
The Iridium NEXT spacecraft will comprise of 66 primary satellites. It will have nine more satellites that serve as orbit spares. In addition, another six satellites will be kept on the ground for launch if necessary.
SpaceX launched the first 10 Iridium NEXT satellites in California earlier on January 14. The next batch of 10 satellites was launched on June 25. Meanwhile, the fourth launch of the Iridium NEXT satellites is slated for November, according to CBS News.
Iridium NEXT constellation aims to innovate and meet the demands for global mobile communications on land, at sea, and in the air. It will provide coverage of more than 100 percent of the Earth’s surface. These include the areas of the oceans, polar regions, and airways, according to Iridium.
These satellites will deliver more bandwidth and higher speeds for new products and service continuity. It will also support Aireon’s aircraft tracking service and other Hosted Payload missions. Iridium NEXT could be the “World’s First Turnkey Platform for Innovative New Capabilities” by reinforcing new Iridium PRIME satellites.
SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted the 10 satellites. They were all successfully deployed. The total satellites now in orbit is about 30. John Insprucker, the SpaceX mission commentator, said that they were “10 for 10, a clean sweep of Iridium NEXT satellite deployment in the desired final orbit.” This has been a great morning, added Insprucker.
Meanwhile, the first stage of the two-stage Falcon 9 landed on SpaceX’s drone ship “Just Read the Instructions” in the Pacific Ocean about 7.5 minutes after the launch. This is the 17th successful landing of the Falcon 9 first stage. The space company has been reusing the Falcon 9 first stages and engaging in utilizing reusable rockets to lower the cost of spaceflight. SpaceX is scheduled to launch another communications satellite into orbit on Wednesday, October 11, from NASA’s Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, according to Space.
[Featured Image by NASA/Getty Images]