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SpaceX launches satellites from California base

26 Juin 2017

Just over 48 hours after its successful launch of BulgariaSat-1, US space firm SpaceX has successfully completed its second launch on Sunday with liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket from California carrying 10 Iridium-NEXT satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO).

The Falcon 9 rocket's first stage booster returned to earth seven minutes after lift-off and landed on a floating platform on a ship in the Pacific Ocean.

It will take a few launches to get the full network into orbit.

"If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred", Musk said.

The second launch involved a brand-new Falcon 9 rocket which left Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on Sunday afternoon (June 25).

If you can't watch those two streams of SpaceX's triumph's not to worry.

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The larger fins, he added, are better suited for the company's larger Falcon Heavy rocket, whose first flight is planned for later this year, and also allows the first stage to land in stronger winds.

It's the fastest turnaround yet for two SpaceX launches, but if it's going to launch as many satellites as it says, there are more rapid-fire liftoffs to come. "Good chance rocket booster doesn't make it back", Musk said. In this case, the payload will be the telecommunications satellite BulgariaSat -1, the first geostationary communications satellite in Bulgaria's history, according to SpaceX.

The $3 billion effort by the McLean, Virginia, company involves complex procedures to replace 66 operational satellites in use for many years. This rocket will be carrying an Iridium communications satellite into orbit.

Iridium plans to launch a total of 75 new satellites for its mobile voice and data communications system by mid-2018.

It's not always been smooth sailing for Musk's space venture: In September, something went wrong during a routine test of the unmanned Falcon 9 rocket at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, resulting in an explosion that rocked the launch site. That stage made a hard, but successful, landing on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Launch at 1:25 delivering 10 satellites for Iridium".