Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

SpaceX Plans Early Morning Satellite Launch From Vandenberg AFB

Follow the SpaceX rocket launch SpaceX launches 10 more Iridium Communications satellites
Frank Williams | 27 July, 2018, 16:46

SpaceX will launch this seventh set of new satellites on its Falcon 9 rocket to low Earth orbit.

With this mission, SpaceX also wanted to try completing two tasks: one was to land the first stage of the rocket on their drone ship and the other one was to catch the rocket's nose cone with a second boat called "Mr. Steven".

The launch is scheduled for Wednesday at 4:39 a.m. PDT (7:39 a.m. EDT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

"All 10 satellites have deployed into an on-target orbit", Spaceflight Now's Stephen Clark reported at 8:53 a.m. ET. Sunday's flight marked the record-breaking heaviest payload brought into orbit by a Falcon 9 and the second block 5 flight. Initially, 77 satellites were required to provide worldwide service, but the number is now reduced to 66.

In total, 81 satellites are built, with 66 in the operational constellation, nine serving as on-orbit spares and six as ground spares.

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The launch went smoothly, despite the fact that fog obscured the view of the rocket until after lift-off.

The weather and sea conditions were "fairly rough".

The company has begun to nail the landings pretty routinely, but has had limited success with recovering the fairings. "I am very pleased to confirm that everything is on track to meet Thales Alenia Space's objective, namely to launch all 75 Iridium NEXT LEO satellites in 2018", declared Denis Allard, Iridium NEXT Vice President for Thales Alenia Space.

About 7.5 minutes later, the first stage of the rocket successfully landed on a droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean. "They did see the payload fairing coming down, but they were not able to catch it in the net". 65 Iridium NEXT satellites are now in orbit.

New satellites to replace orbiting satellites of the previous generation.

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