SpaceX Launches 10 Satellites from California Base

SpaceX Launches 10 Satellites from California Base”

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched at 1:25 p.m. from the Space Launch Complex 4E on Vandenberg Air Force Base.

SpaceX's back-to-back launches feature the shortest span between two succeeding launches, shooting a refurbished Falcon 9 booster skyward on Friday, June 23, launching Bulgaria's first communication satellite into space.

The three-day turnaround between launch of BulgariaSat-1 on Friday and the Iridium satellites on Sunday was the quickest yet for SpaceX, which pulled off the feat by relying on two separate launch teams, one based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for Friday's launch and the second at Vandenberg, which handled the polar-orbiting Iridium satellite flight.

It took SpaceX 15 years to demonstrate that a rocket typically discarded in the ocean after a single flight could be recovered and reused.

It was a success for SpaceX and Iridium NEXT on Sunday afternoon.

About seven minutes later the rocket's first-stage booster made its way back to Earth, successfully landing on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean.

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Scheduled for completion in 2018, the mission continued yesterday with the release of another 10 satellites, leaving only 55 more for departure over the next year.

The payloads for this launch are the second set of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites. Iridium has partnered with Thales Alenia Space for the manufacturing, assembly and testing of all 81 Iridium NEXT satellites, 75 of which will be launched by SpaceX. This system thus provides a global communications network, that have data transmitters connected to hand-help phones, machine-to-machine devices as well as cruise and aircraft.

The rocket's 230-foot-tall first stage, housing nine engines, descended on the drone ship called "Just Read the Instructions".

Prior to launch, CEO Elon Musk warned that the landing would be tricky due to weather conditions.

The second rocket featured titanium grid fins, which can withstand re-entry heating better than the previous aluminium design. The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before.

"Right now, it's two down with six more launches to go", Matt Desch, chief executive officer of Iridium, said in a statement. The booster was previously used in a January mission. This insane turnaround time epitomizes SpaceX's haste in creating more routine launches.

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