SpaceX, a US private spaceflight company, successfully launched 10 next generation global satellite to low-earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4E(SLC-4E) in California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base .
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from the Vadenberg Air Force Base at 5:37 am PDT, carrying 10 satellites for Iriduium Communications.
Iridium Next satellites were deployed about 57 minutes after liftoff.
The launch was streamed live online, showing the SpaceX team at control room applauding and breaking into cheers after the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage landing.
The mission also marked the 14th launch of SpaceX in 2017 and the 17th successful landing of a Falcon 9 first stage, according to Xinhua news agency.
Falcon 9 first stages have been reused by SpaceX, which is pursuing fully reusable rockets in an effort to bring down the cost of spaceflight.
This is the third of the eight scheduled launches for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. Now the total number of satellites in orbit is up to 30. The first launch took place in January, while the second on June 25.
SpaceX had announced earlier that it has started the live testing of the Iridium Certus service on operational Iridium NEXT satellites.
The satellite communications company has collaborated with Thales Alenia Space for the manufacturing, assembly and testing of 81 Iridium NEXT satellites. SpaceX has launched 75 out of these and they are scheduled to be deployed by mid-2018.
The next-gen global satellite constellation will provide coverage of over 100 per cent of the surface of the Earth, including across oceans, airways and polar regions, Xinhua reported.
The spaceflight company’s landed its Falcon 9 on a droneship in the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted a photo showing sattelite deploying on Instagram.
Musk wrote, “The last of ten Iridium global communication satellites delivered to orbit several hundred miles above Earth, traveling at over 17,000 mph. They will circle the planet every 90 minutes."
Falcon 9’s principal integration engineer John Insprucker soon after the deployment in a webcast said, “We're 10 for 10. A clean sweep of Iridium Next satellite deployment in the desired final orbit."