SpaceX launches 10 satellites from California air base
A SpaceX rocket carries 10 satellites orbiting California Sunday, two days after the company successfully launched a Florida satellite.
The Falcon 9 rocket exploded through the low fog at 13:25. PDT from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in northwest Los Angeles.
It carried a second batch of new Iridium communications satellites, which replaced its fleet in orbit with a constellation of satellites for the next generation.
Approximately 7 minutes after takeoff, the first rocket actuator returned to earth and landed on a floating platform on a ship in the Pacific Ocean, while the second stage of the rocket continued to carry satellites into orbit.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 was launched this Friday by Cape Canaveral in Florida and launched a communications satellite in orbit for Bulgaria. His first step was recovered after landing on an unmanned drone ship in the Atlantic.
California-based Hawthorne SpaceX founder Elon Musk believes that re-using rocket components will reduce the cost of space launches.
Iridium plans to create 75 new satellites for the mobile voice and data system in mid-2018, which requires six launches, all for SpaceX.
McLean, Virginia’s 3 billion effort involves complex procedures to replace 66 operational satellites used for many years. Some of the new satellites will be called spare orbiting satellites or else remain in orbit waiting to use if the latter do not work properly.
The old satellites exchange and deorbitation have already begun, said Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium, during a pre-release call with the press.
Several former satellites have moved to lower orbits to use their remaining fuel and set up solar panels for maximum drag resistance to fit the atmosphere and burn.
The first round took place on June 11, according to Desch.
“It’s hard to celebrate something like that, but these satellites have almost 20 years of service and ensuring that we were cleaned up after ourselves as we make use of our new constellation is a priority,” he said.
The new satellites also carry payloads for space monitoring and surveillance through the airline Aerion aircraft, which has implications for efficiency, economy and safety, especially in distance air space in the oceans.
“This will make a truly revolutionary aspect of air traffic control,” said Don Thomas, CEO of Aireon.
The technology, which requires the aircraft to be equipped with some equipment, is undergoing testing involving eight of the initial lots of Iridium NEXT.
The NEXT Iridium program will also put an end to so-called “Iridium flares,” whose space enthusiasts have been watching for years. New satellites do not create visible flashes of reflected light as they pass overhead.