Published: Sat, March 31, 2018
Sci-tech | By Spencer Schmidt

SpaceX Falcon 9's Iridium satellite launch is a triumph of recycling

SpaceX Falcon 9's Iridium satellite launch is a triumph of recycling

The rocket, which shot off from VAFB's Space Launch Complex-4E, roared over the coast as it delivered another set of 10 satellites into orbit for Iridium Communications' NEXT constellation.

Friday is exactly one year to the day after SpaceX's first used Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing.

The satellites are expected to be deployed into low-Earth orbit about an hour after liftoff.

Generally, it falls back to earth and hits the ocean and is never used again but considering Space X mission, company plans to land Payload fairing on highspeed boat.For IRDM launch which happened on Friday Morning, a ship, named Mr. Steven, went hunting out in the sea and will be attempting to catch half of the fairing with a giant net.

If that sounds like a lot of launches for Iridium to you, you're not wrong. The booster had flown once before on an October 2017 mission, and SpaceX will reportedly discard some of its older boosters as it gears up to debut an upgraded version of the Falcon 9, called Block 5.

The total cost of one of its Falcon 9 launches is estimated to reach £44 million ($61m), while each of its larger Falcon Heavy flights costs £65 million ($90m). But this was one of the rare occasions Musk has acknowledged his rocket startup's attempts to recover the fairing after launch.

On Thursday, marine tracking sites showed the ship headed out into the Pacific Ocean toward a location dubbed "Iridium 5", which is the name of Friday's mission.

SpaceX previously tried to catch the fairing back in February 2017.

Musk is already tweeting about plans for running more tests and tweaking the fairing's systems to give it a better chance of success next time.

'Air wake from fairing messing w parafoil steering.

At successful cutoff of the first stage, cheers could be heard from the control room.

And the company likely won't air the fairing landing attempt on its live stream, since that effort is experimental. And for the most part, it's paid off.

SpaceX reuses the first stage of its two-stage Falcon 9 rockets.

So, while today's launch might not be quite as exciting as the company's Falcon Heavy launch last month, there's still plenty of reason to be impressed.

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