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Liftoff! Used SpaceX Rocket Launches 10 Iridium Satellites Into Orbit

Liftoff! Used SpaceX Rocket Launches 10 Iridium Satellites Into Orbit

SpaceX plans to use the same first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket that was used for the Iridium-3 launch in October.

SpaceX has confirmed successful deployment of all 10 communications satellites to low-Earth orbit after their launch aboard a a Falcon 9 on Friday, but the company reported a glitch in landing the $6 million nose cone into a giant seaborne net. Since then, SpaceX has commonly landed the first stage of its two-stage Falcon 9 rockets and reused them on later flights. The satellites are part of a 75-satellite array being positioned for Iridium's "next-generation" communications system.

However, it did try to land the fairing - the rocket's nose cone - on a SpaceX-owned boat named "Mr Steven", which is equipped with a huge net.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted on Twitter the fairing "impacted water at high speed". Well, the good news at least is that SpaceX does not expect to face a similar issue with its next launch. Friday's mission is the fifth set of 10 satellites being launched for the project.

The $3-billion U.S. project is scheduled for completion this year, with a total of 75 new satellites in orbit. Musk tweeted after the February 22 launch from Vandenberg that the boat missed catching the fairing "by a few hundreds meters", adding that the fairing slowed down enough to land "intact" in the Pacific Ocean.




The Space Exploration Technologies rocket roared away at 7:13 a.m. into clear skies above Space Launch Complex-4 on South Base.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to Newsweek's inquiry about what would happen to the booster if it's not recovered. The payload fairing returns through Earth's atmosphere at a very high velocity, about eight times the speed of sound.

Live coverage will begin 15 minutes before liftoff.

Desch quickly followed up Tuesday evening, saying in a tweet "there has been a technical resolution" to the problem and the launch was now be set for Friday.

What makes this launch extra special is that it was carried out by a used Falcon 9 rocket. With this launch, it will be the twelfth commercial resupply mission in which SpaceX will fly to the International Space Station.

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