Elon Musk's SpaceX launches ten more satellites for Iridium

02 April, 2018, 01:00 | Author: Bertha Harmon
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The private space firm SpaceX on Friday launched with a partially-reused rocket the latest group of communication satellites to upgrade mobile, voice and data networks for Virginia-based firm Iridium. Iridium confirmed shortly before noon that all 10 satellites had reached orbit and transmitted signals.

The Iridium satellites, each weighing 1,896 pounds, will replace the world's largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites.

The first stage of the rocket sent aloft on Friday had been used in October for a previous launch as part of the project, known as Iridium NEXT.

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.

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Hawthorne-based SpaceX Friday launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.

Musk, who is also the co-founder and chief executive of electric automaker Tesla Inc., said in 2015 that SpaceX planned to launch a satellite-internet business that would help fund a future city on Mars.

Matt Desch, CEO at Iridium posted a statement saying that the company has already crossed the mark of one million subscribers and counting just when SpaceX was preparing to launch the satellites into the orbit. Since the older satellites had overperformed excessively, Iridium made a decision to invest a fortune of $3 billion to upgrade its services and increase subscribers base and to offer seamless and uninterrupted data, voice, and other services unlike others falling to meet the needs of the customers.

The $3 billion project is scheduled for completion by the middle of the year, with a total of 75 new satellites in orbit. The mission lasted approximately 75 minutes. Well, the good news at least is that SpaceX does not expect to face a similar issue with its next launch. "The process of replacing the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before".

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Musk revealed in a tweet that his company was attempting the recovery of the fairing with a ship, named Mr Steven.

The Iridium-5 NEXT Mission launched at 7:13 a.m.

"GPS guided parafoil twisted, so fairing impacted water at high speed", Musk tweeted. Musk said helicopter drop tests would be conducted over the next few weeks to solve the issue.

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