Published: Sat, March 31, 2018
Research | By Jennifer Evans

SpaceX Launches Iridium-5 Mission Friday Morning From Vandenberg Air Force Base

SpaceX Launches Iridium-5 Mission Friday Morning From Vandenberg Air Force Base

As was the case for the December 22 launch that sent up the fourth set of NEXT satellites, Friday's Falcon 9 launch also utilized a previously-flown first stage.

SpaceX did not attempt its signature move on Friday by landing the first-stage rocket booster. It is pursuing fully reusable rockets in an effort to lower the cost of spaceflight.

The fairing rests on the very top part of the rocket, and it acts as a shield for satellites during launch. There were restrictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

'We have successful liftoff of the Falcon 9, ' the firm confirmed in a live stream of the event.

There is also another heightened interest in this launch.

It is, however, expected to try to recover the rocket's "fairing, " or nosecone, using a large ship dubbed Mr. Steven, which is outfitted with a large netting.

At least twice, SpaceX has guided fairing halves to soft landings in the ocean, according to Musk's social media pages. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that as the nose cone - also called a fairing - fell back toward Earth, the parafoils that were supposed to slow its decent became tangled.

SpaceX recovered a payload fairing for the first time in 2017. That means it will need a grand total of eight launches to get them all into space, so it won't be very long until we hear about the next one.

SpaceX previously tried to catch the fairing back in February 2017.

This is SpaceX's fifth launch of Iridium's satellites into what it was, the Iridium constellation. SpaceX will deliver a total of 75 new satellites to orbit, including nine in-orbit spares. Iridium is now in the process of building out its NEXT constellation of communications satellites, and in all, it will be comprised of 75 satellites.

Space X also achieved green light for their next big mission, yesterday Space X received United States approval to launch 4,425 low-Earth orbit satellites, a key breakthrough in its plan to offer broadband with high speeds and low latency around the world.

Starting an hour after launch, the satellites were released one by one approximately every 100 seconds, taking about 15 minutes to successfully complete delivery.

Today's planned launch is the first of two planned by SpaceX in the next four days. The company is scheduled to launch a cargo mission to the International Space Station at 1:30 p.m. Monday from Cape Canaveral.

Under an agreement with NASA, SpaceX is now developing the refinements that will enable Dragon to fly crew.

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