SpaceX Launches 10 Iridium Next Satellites Despite Harsh Weather

SpaceX Launches 10 Iridium Next Satellites Despite Harsh Weather

SpaceX launched 10 Iridium Next telecom satellites July 25 on a Falcon 9 rocket, bringing Iridium's constellation one launch away from completion.

Launching in the early-morning hours of July 22, 2018, SpaceX's Block 5 Falcon 9 sent the Telstar 19 VANTAGE satellite into space.

The 920th Rescue Wing assisted in the mission by sending out an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crew to clear the Eastern Range underneath the rocket trajectory. The rocket was launched from the spaceport Vandenberg in California.

The still-in-development Ariane 6 will be meant to compete with SpaceX's cheaper reusable launch systems, though it is likely that by the time it debuts the latter company will have significantly bypassed it on cost savings.

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According to Deck, the 920th RQW is responsible for securing the Range by ensuring no mariners are in harm's way when the rocket lifts off, in case of an emergency. The effort to snag fairings remains at the "experimental stage", SpaceX engineer John Insprucker said on the company's launch webcast.

Following the launch, the Falcon's first stage successfully returned to Earth and landed on a barge - named "Just Read the Instructions" - floating in the Pacific Ocean, as the company continues its process of reusing rockets to save money on future missions. The firm was also speculated to attempt to catch the rocket's fairing with a giant net stretched across a boat called Mr. Steven.

Per Space.com, the Arianespace launch was planned to take place near the Atlantic coast of South America at Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. The weather was predicted to have a 60 percent chance of acceptable conditions with evening rain showers lasting longer into the night than typical for the area. One more launch will increase the number to 75, including 66 operational satellites and nine spares.

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

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