SpaceX launches 10 satellites from Calif. air base

SpaceX launches 10 satellites from Calif. air base”

And, both through luck and hard work, SpaceX was able to once again successfully land that second rocket, taking them one step closer to the dream of space commerce and tourism.

The mission, for its client Iridium, a global satellite telecommunications provider, saw SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket launch from the company's Vandenberg Air Force base on June 25 in California, carrying a payload of 10 satellites meant to push forward Iridium's ambitions to create a global network. There will be six more Iridium Next missions over the next year. The first-stage booster landed about 7 minutes later.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 on Friday launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida and boosted a communications satellite for Bulgaria into orbit. On Sunday, it launched another 10 spacecraft from California for Iridium, a telecommunications company, the BBC reports.

Live video from an automated camera on the ship showed the barge rocking up and down in heavy seas with the Falcon 9 first stage positioned near the center of the landing deck. This brings SpaceX's total landing successes to 13, for missions it actively sought to recover a booster. This gave Elon Musk, a California resident himself, the confidence to sign on to a 75-satellite deal with Iridium Communications for the coming years.

But as with all SpaceX launches, the landings are a secondary objective.

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About 7 minutes after liftoff, the rocket's first-stage booster returned to earth and landed on a floating platform on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, while the rocket's second stage continued to carry the satellites toward orbit.

"Successful deployment of 10 IridiumComm NEXT satellites to low-Earth orbit confirmed", SpaceX tweeted. Should Iridium continue using SpaceX's services, it could complete its constellation sooner than expected.

The $3 billion project is a bid to upgrade the Virginia-based Iridium s global communications network.

"Crosslinks, as we refer to them, allow our satellites to bounce data and voice calls around the world almost instantaneously, creating a true web of coverage around the entire planet, the key advantage of our network and one of the biggest reasons for our growth and success".

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