Today, Spacex is taking its first flight back to the skies after the unfortunate Falcon 9 explosion during pre-flight checks in September of last year. The private space company is currently readying itself for the Iridium-1 mission, scheduled to launch on January 14 at 9:54:39 AM PT, 12:54:39 PM ET or 11:24:39 PM IST.
For the said mission, SpaceX will conduct its return flight from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A change in launch site for this mission was necessary due to Cape Canaveral launch gear being destroyed during the previous explosion. This Falcon 9 launch will carry ten Iridium-NEXT communication satellites and deliver them into low Earth orbit. These are the first set from the planned 66-satellite network that SpaceX will be delivering to space for the telecommunications giant.
As for the mission, if everything goes as planned then the Falcon 9 will first deliver the satellites. Once the second stage with these satellites departs on the journey to its orbit then the Falcon 9 will attempt to safely land back on the floating landing pad in the ocean. About an hour after take-off, these satellites will start deploying themselves into their positions in the low Earth orbit. You can watch the livestream for the launch of YouTube or SpaceX’s official website.
The Iridium-NEXT satellite project is focused on building a network of communication satellites for offering voice and data network service across a few different verticals. The commercial launch of its service is expected to begin in 2017. The company has uniquely created a vision to covers the whole Earth with network services. It has already launched over 95 satellites to cover geographies including poles, oceans, and airways.
The Iridium-1 mission was initially supposed to take flight on January 8 but was delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions. They had cited ‘high winds and rains at Vandenberg’ as the primary reason for pushing the launch date. And there is still the possibility of Iridium-1 launch being delayed further due to strong winds and other natural factors. SpaceX wouldn’t want to take a risk with their return flight as the same will now define its future. The rocket has undergone necessary pre-checks and is now standing at the Airforce base, ready to be launched.
Tracking ground wind for tomorrow’s launch attempt of 10 @IridiumComm NEXT satellites. Weather overall 60% favorable https://t.co/tdni53IviI pic.twitter.com/I9Vx26iRKW
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 13, 2017
The success of this Falcon 9 mission is extremely important for SpaceX and will define the need of it services for upcoming missions. This is also expected to affect the company’s ambitious dream of making us a multi-planetary species through its Mars Mission. Thus, Elon Musk, the SpaceX team and every other space enthusiast are currently eyeing a successful Falcon 9 launch. This will strike them as a confidence booster, providing them relief and making them focus on upcoming projects.
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