Wednesday, 21 August, 2019


Falcon 9 Rocket Launches Friday Morning

A Space Exploration Technologies Falcon 9 rocket lifts off Falcon 9 Rocket Launches Friday Morning
Kristine Garrett | 13 January, 2019, 22:08

Final deployment of Iridium's 10 satellites is expected to take place about an hour after lift-off.

A Falcon 9 rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday served as the grand finale for one of the largest tech upgrades in space history, including revolutionary change to the global air-traffic surveillance system.

The next launch window was tentatively planned for January 8, and eventually pushed to Friday.

"There it is, right in the middle of the bullseye", said SpaceX commentator John Innsbrucker, as live images showed the first stage of the rocket standing upright on the droneship named "Just Read the Instructions".

The last planned SpaceX rocket launch in December - not to be confused with United Launch Alliance's thwarted attempt to launch a Heavy IV Delta rocket - was delayed when SpaceX informed Iridium they needed extra time to prep for the launch.

At two minutes 27 seconds after lift-off the first stage was shut down, and the second stage fired up, sending Iridium's birds to space during a 15-minute deployment nearly an hour later.

The Falcon 9 will be carrying a payload of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites.

As of now, all but one of SpaceX's flight-ready Falcon 9 boosters have now performed two or three orbital-class launches and are quickly becoming a truly reusable fleet of rockets.

The rocket lifted off at 7:31 a.m. Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base and arced over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles.

Nine minutes after launch, the tall portion of the Falcon 9 rocket landed successfully on a floating platform in the Pacific Ocean.

The eighth and final launch of the $3 billion Iridium NEXT project completed delivery of 75 new satellites to orbit for the McLean, Virginia, company.

Iridium is deorbiting its original fleet of satellites.

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