SpaceX says Iridium satellite payload deployed (Update)

March 30, 2018
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasts off in December with a payload for Iridium

The private firm SpaceX on Friday said a partially-reused rocket successfully launched and deployed the latest group of satellites to upgrade communication networks for Virginia-based company Iridium.

"We have successful liftoff of the Falcon 9," a SpaceX commentator said after the rocket roared off with a tail of fiery exhaust from Vandenberg US Air Force base in California.

SpaceX confirmed on Twitter the "successful deployment of all 10 @IridiumComm NEXT satellites to low-Earth orbit."

It was the fifth set of 10 satellites that SpaceX has launched for Iridium, whose $3 billion project is expected to include a total of 81 satellites—with 75 launched by SpaceX.

The first stage of the rocket sent aloft on Friday had been used in October for a previous launch as part of the project, known as Iridium NEXT.

SpaceX did not attempt to make another recovery of the rocket's first stage after Friday's launch.

However, it did try to land the fairing—the rocket's nose cone—on a SpaceX-owned boat named "Mr Steven," which is equipped with a huge net.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter the fairing "impacted water at high speed," without confirming explicitly if the landing was successful or not.

Musk aims to make rockets as reusable as commercial airplanes, bringing down the cost of spaceflight and boosting efficiency.

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 car.

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, improving mobile, voice and data networks, Iridium has said.

Some of the satellites are designed to help track ships and aircraft in real time.

Explore further: SpaceX set to launch satellites from California air base

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Periodic radio signal detected from the blazar J1043+2408

December 12, 2018

Using Owens Valley Radio Observatory (OVRO), astronomers have detected a periodic signal in the radio light curve of the blazar J1043+2408, which could be helpful in improving our understanding about the nature of blazars ...

Rosetta witnesses birth of baby bow shock around comet

December 12, 2018

A new study reveals that, contrary to first impressions, Rosetta did detect signs of an infant bow shock at the comet it explored for two years – the first ever seen forming anywhere in the solar system.

The epoch of planet formation, times twenty

December 12, 2018

Astronomers have cataloged nearly 4,000 exoplanets in orbit around distant stars. Though the discovery of these newfound worlds has taught us much, there is still a great deal we do not know about the birth of planets and ...

Juno mission halfway to Jupiter science

December 12, 2018

On Dec. 21, at 8:49:48 a.m. PST (11:49:48 a.m. EST) NASA's Juno spacecraft will be 3,140 miles (5,053 kilometers) above Jupiter's cloud tops and hurtling by at a healthy clip of 128,802 mph (207,287 kilometers per hour). ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.