Published: Fri, January 11, 2019
Science | By

SpaceX completes 8th mission for longtime customer in first launch of 2019

SpaceX completes 8th mission for longtime customer in first launch of 2019

The Iridium-8 mission launched from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at California's Vandenburg Air Force Base at 1531 UTC, sending into orbit the remaining 10 satellites on the company's books for Iridium's next-generation global satellite constellation.

SpaceX launched its first mission of 2019, fulfilling its Iridium contract, while the Falcon 9 due to loft the company's Crew Dragon demo mission remained resolutely attached to Florida.

Like other rockets, SpaceX's separate after launch into a first and second stage.

To watch the launch, check out approximately a half hour before the expected launch.

The recycled Falcon 9 first stage used for the final Iridium mission previously launched an unrelated satellite to space in September.

SpaceX landed the booster on its droneship "Just Read The Instructions", stationed safely out in the Pacific.

This reuse is key for SpaceX's genius CEO Elon Musk, as this will dramatically slash the inordinate cost of extraterrestrial exploration. This will be the company's first landing attempt since a stage launched December 5 malfunctioned and "landed" in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Canaveral.

Falcon 9
The first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket lands on a drone ship in the Pacific Ocean

NASA has promised a new date following coordination with the Eastern Range and International Space Station program.

Today's SpaceX liftoff has been postponed several times, in part to give SpaceX to make minor repairs to the Falcon 9.

In an image made from the SpaceX webcast, a spacecraft deploys the final set of Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit, January 11, 2019.

If successful, Iridium will have a total of 75 new satellites in orbit, including nine spares.

SpaceX has unveiled the test version of its eagerly-awaited Starship Hopper.

"Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won't wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section".

Falcon 9 sits ready on the launchpad for the final Iridium NEXT mission.

Like this: