SpaceX Launches Ten More Satellites for Iridium

SpaceX will add lots of space traffic over the next few days

SpaceX will add lots of space traffic over the next few days

Falcon 9, in its fifth outing for Iridium Communications in just over a year, lifted off as rlanned at 10:13 a.m. EDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. These satellites are destined to work with other 65 satellites of which total 50 satellites have already been sent to the orbit.

Iridium has announced that all 10 new satellites have successfully communicated with the Iridium Satellite Network Operations Center and are preparing to begin testing.

SpaceX's next launch is scheduled for April 2, when another Falcon 9 rocket will be used in a cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

SpaceX confirmed the rocket placed all 10 satellites into orbit around an hour after liftoff, concluding the company's fifth launch to deploy Iridium's upgraded global voice, data and broadband network.

While SpaceX typically provides live video of its non-classified launches through payload separation, SpaceX ended Friday's video feed shortly before the rocket's second-stage engine stopped firing. To do that, Iridium has bought eight Falcon 9 launches for a total of $536 million. Once, the constellation of 75 satellites for which, Iridium, a service provider had a contract with SpaceX, it will start beaming down good-quality signal with high-strength on the land, in water, and in the air as well. The mission lasted approximately 75 minutes. Iridium, which plans to have all of its satellites launched by mid-2018, has partnered with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture, assemble and test them.

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The fairing rests on the top of the rocket, and it acts as a shield for the satellites during launch. Once complete, the constellation will consist of 66 active satellites, nine orbiting spares and six ground spares.

SpaceX will not attempt to make another recovery of the rocket's first stage after Friday's launch.

Falcon 9 fairings have thrusters that can guide it using Global Positioning System back toward a target then use parafoils - a type of parachute that works in high altitudes - to slow it down and have it land on nets held open by a ship with a "giant mitt" called Mr Steven.

Friday's launch used the same first-stage rocket from Iridium's similar mission in October.

Speaking on the subject of the fairing, Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO, indicated that it would be easier to restore this part for a future flight provided that their recovery plans are successful.

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