Space Exploration Technologies launched a rocket on Friday launching 10 Iridium communications satellites, the fifth in a series of eight launches built for communications company NEXT constellation network.
The Falcon 9 rocket lifted from Vandenberg Air Force Base on California's central coast at 7:13 am local time. SpaceX has committed to bring a total of 75 Iridium satellites into orbit. SpaceX said on Twitter about an hour after launch that all 10 satellites had been deployed.
"Iridium NEXT will replace the world's largest commercial satellite network of low earth orbit satellites in one of the largest 'tech upgrades' in Europe history," SpaceX said in a press kit. "The process of replacing satellites one by one in a constellation of this size and size has never been completed before."
On Friday, the same first missile from Iridium's similar mission started in October. SpaceX did not try to restore the rocket for reuse. It tried to catch part of the fairing or nose cone, although it was unsuccessful, said Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk.
"GPS-guided Parafoil twisted, so the water disguised at high speed," he said on Twitter. "Air wake of disguise confused w parafoil steering." Hello drop tests will be carried out over the next few weeks to solve the problem. "
SpaceX is planning about 30 missions this year, down from a record of 1