SpaceX launches Cluster of Iridium Satellites from California
US based rocket manufacturing company SpaceX successfully launched constellation of 10 satellites into orbit on board of its two stage Falcon 9 Rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The satellites were deployed into the designated to low-Earth orbit about an hour after launch. Besides, rocket’s first stag also landed upright on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg.
- The constellation of 10 satellites was launched as part of McLean, Virginia-based Iridium’s project to replace its existing network of satellites that provide global voice and data communications.
- Iridium is a global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications. These satellites were the first part of at least 70 satellites of Iridium’s next-generation global satellite constellation, Iridium Next. SpaceX will be launching all 70 satellites of Iridium Next.
- This was SpaceX’s first launch since September 2016 accident of similar rocket on a Florida launch pad which unications satellites Amos-6.
About FALCON 9
- It is a two-stage rocket designed by SpaceX. It is capable of transporting satellites and the Dragon spacecraft into the orbit.
- Its two-stage configuration minimises the number of separation events and with nine first-stage engines, it can safely complete its mission even in the event of an engine shutdown.
- In 2012, it created a history by delivering Dragon into the correct orbit for rendezvous with the International Space Station. With this fete, it became the first commercial company ever to visit the space station.
- Falcon 9, along with the Dragon spacecraft, was designed from the outset to deliver humans into space. Under an agreement with NASA, SpaceX is actively working toward that goal.
- SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, US.
- It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and former PayPal entrepreneur with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.
- SpaceX has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both designed to be reusable. It also has developed Dragon spacecraft to supply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). It is also developing a manned version of Dragon is in development.
- SpaceX’s achievements: First privately funded, liquid-propellant rocket Falcon 1 to reach orbit in 2008. First privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (Dragon) in 2010. First private company to send a spacecraft (Dragon) to the ISS, in 2012.
- As of July 2016, it has flown nine missions to the ISS under a cargo resupply contract with NASA signed in 2006.