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SpaceX set to launch satellites from California air base

26 Juin 2017

SpaceX was working with an especially tight launch window, Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted shortly before the rocket liftoff.

SpaceX just capped off two successful missions to space this weekend - the company's quickest launch turnaround yet.

The rocket placed into orbit the second set of 10 Iridium Next satellites for Iridium. On June 23, a Falcon 9 launched the BulgariaSat-1 satellite from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, using a first stage that previously launched the first batch of Iridium Next satellites in January.

These launches represent the largest number of launches in a single year for SpaceX - and the year is only half over.

The satellites that launched Sunday will be part of a so-called constellation operated by Iridium Communications Inc.

Iridium Next has many goals.

That means missing airplanes - like the Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished three years ago over the Indian Ocean - could become a thing of the past.

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Thinking about watching a launch from the Space Coast? The last of the 10 satellites launched Sunday was deployed to low-Earth orbit at 2:37 p.m.

Now, two days later, the company will attempt to launch a new Falcon 9 from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.

"We tried to work with other launch vehicle companies but all were at least twice the cost of SpaceX and unaffordable based on the scope of the network we needed to launch", Desch said, adding that he remains focused on the future.

SpaceX is the only company that has recovered, refurbished and then re-flown an orbital class rocket.

Sunday's mission did not use a pre-flown booster.

The rocket's first stage made a landing on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean, touching down as planned despite concerns that conditions were "marginal" for the landing because of winds.

Though Iridium's contract with SpaceX now specifies that new first-stages will be used to launch the satellites, company Chief Executive Matt Desch said earlier this week he would be "open" to using a previously flown booster in the future.