SpaceX's Iridium-8 mission couldn't have gone any better. The last batch of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites have made their way into low-Earth orbit earlier today, after lifting off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California atop a Falcon 9 rocket.
The recycled space vehicle — which previously flew Telstar's 18 VANTAGE satellite into space — took off from Space Launch Complex 4E at 10:31 a.m. EST, soaring to the skies during an instantaneous launch window. This type of launch window is required for the Iridium NEXT satellites to reach their orbit, the Inquisitr reported yesterday.
Today's rocket flight was the first successful launch of 2019, notes Space. At the same time, the event marked the glorious end of the two-year collaboration between SpaceX and Iridium.
With the success of this eighth and final launch, SpaceX has now lofted a total of 75 Iridium NEXT satellites — 66 active spacecraft and nine serving as on-orbit spares.
"Incredible! We are beyond proud to share that the eighth and final Iridium NEXT launch is a success!" Iridium announced via Twitter.
The launch of the Iridium-8 mission was chronicled by SpaceX on the company's Twitter account, which posted a number of photos of the Falcon 9 rocket and its multi-satellite payload. SpaceX also provided constant updates of the mission's status — starting with liftoff and all the way through satellite deployment and the flawless ocean landing of the Falcon 9 first stage.