Follow the SpaceX rocket launch


Elon Musk's rocket company is scheduled to launch a batch of 10 satellites for sat-phone company Iridium from Vandenburg Air Force Base before sunrise.

The Falcon 9 will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 04:39 Pacific Time or 11:39 UTC. Once deployed, there will be a total of 65 Iridium NEXT satellites in space. SpaceX will launch this seventh set of new satellites on its Falcon 9 rocket to low Earth orbit. Initially, 77 satellites were required to provide worldwide service, but the number is now reduced to 66. On the opposite coast, SpaceX's second Block 5 Falcon 9 booster (B1047) completed its own successful launch and landing, lofting the heaviest commercial satellite to ever reach orbit (Telstar 19V).

The Iridium NEXT constellation will offer global connectivity thanks to 66 interconnected satellites at an altitude of 780 km, along with nine spares in parking orbits and six more spare satellites on the ground. Despite the "challenging weather conditions", the first stage successfully made a soft landing on a barge Just Read the Instructions. The payload and the rocket have been transported to the launch pad, and the rocket is vertical for launch.

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As usual, SpaceX safely landed the rocket's reusable first stage.

The weather and sea conditions were "fairly rough. We've come a long way, and we are particularly excited to see the financial transformation enabled by the completion of the Iridium NEXT system and the associated drop in capital expenditures". Launch and Early Operations (LEOP) and In Orbit Tests are performed by Thales Alenia Space in coordination with Iridium, from Iridium's Satellite Network Operation Center (SNOC) in Leesburg, Virginia.

Iridium is also the only satellite communications network to cover the entire globe keeping track of objects participating in the internet of things (IoT).