SpaceX successfully launches 10 Iridium-NEXT satellites aboard the Falcon 9
02 April, 2018, 00:57 | Author: Myrtle Cook
With the launch two days away, Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a tweet Tuesday the company was "having an issue" with one of the 10 satellites being prepared, pushing the attempt to Saturday.
SpaceX has confirmed successful deployment of all 10 communications satellites to low-Earth orbit after their launch aboard a Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, but the company reported a glitch in landing the $6 million nose cone into a giant seaborne net.
The US government recently ratified a contract allowing Musk's IRDM to triple the number of NEXT satellites to replace an existing constellation in earth's lower earth. SapceX has been working for a long time to ensure that its Falcon rockets can be used repeatedly, which will save a ton of money since SpaceX won't have to construct new rockets for each launch it performs.
SpaceX's next launch is scheduled for April 2, when another Falcon 9 rocket will be used in a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.
Today's launch marks the fifth set of 10 satellites the firm has delivered to orbit, for what will eventually be a global satellite constellation of 75 craft.
While SpaceX typically provides live video of its non-classified launches through payload separation, SpaceX ended Friday's video feed shortly before the rocket's second-stage engine stopped firing.
It was not immediately clear why a remote sensing license was an issue for SpaceX on Friday's mission when SpaceX has live streamed the launch of previous missions without issue. With Friday's launch, there were 50 newer-style Iridium satellites in space. The mission lasted approximately 75 minutes. The mobile voice and data communications company's final launches of this $3 billion satellite replacement project are expected to happen by the end of 2018. In fact, the rocket that shuttled Iridium's satellites into orbit today was used in the third Iridium launch back on October 9. "The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before".
Mr. Steven, a boat deployed by SpaceX to snag falling parts with a giant seaborne net, failed to retrieve the $6 million nose cone, a method Musk has been trying to flawless with previous launches as well.
SpaceX's February 22 launch debuted Mr Steven, but that fairing also missed the boat, although the parafoil made sure it had a soft landing in the water. "Doing helo drop tests in next few weeks to solve".
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