Jan. 14, 2017: Space-X’s Falcon 9 rocket with 10 satellites launches at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
LOS ANGELES – A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from California on Saturday and placed a constellation of satellites in orbit, marking the company since the first launch of a fireball engulfed a similar rocket on a Florida launch pad on for more than four months ago.
The two-stage rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 9:54 pm, with a payload of Iridium Communications Inc., that is the replacement of the entire global network, with 70 of the next generation of satellites.
The satellites were deployed about an hour after the launch.
Approximately nine minutes after the rocket blasted off, to cheers from the control room, are thrown overboard first stage landed right on a droneship in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg — part of Spacex’s attempt to boosters to reuse.
The company has managed six times before landing on a boat or to the shore.
An on-board camera of the first phase gave the viewers a you-are-there experience back to the Earth, flared landing rockets and a perfect upright landing on the floating path.
The return flight is an important step for SpaceX, billionaire Elon Musk’s California-based company that has about 70 launches in line, for a value of more than $10 billion. In addition to commercial launches, SpaceX ferries supplies to the International space station and is developing a capsule to be able to astronauts to the station.
SpaceX officials say that they have identified all possible causes of the Sept. 1 accident during the prelaunch testing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and took corrective action.
The accident destroyed the rocket and its cargo — a satellite that Facebook wanted to use for the dissemination of access to the internet in Africa — and is grounded, the Falcon 9 program as a research place.
SpaceX announced this month that the researchers conclude that the accident was a failure of one of the three helium tanks in the rocket’s second stage of the liquid oxygen in the tank.
The study involved the air force, NASA, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, which issued a permit for the launch.
The September accident was the second time that a Falcon 9 was destroyed. In June 2015, a Falcon loaded with space station, delivers disintegrated shortly after the launch. SpaceX determined that a strut broke.
The 10 satellites launched Saturday have been part of McLean, Virginia-based Iridium’s project to replace its existing network of satellites that provide global voice and data communications.
The program, called Iridium NEXT, was not only delayed by the SpaceX accident, but then again, most recently when a powerful storm went to California last weekend.
Iridium plans six more Falcon 9 launches, each with 10 satellites, as part of a technology upgrade is expected to be completed in 2018.
SpaceX’s attempt to recover Falcon first stage is intended to reduce the cost by recycling a big chunk of the start system.
The first phase consists of tanks for liquid oxygen and kerosene, as well as nine engines to power the rocket and the cargo in the space, separates than 2½ minutes into the flight when the single-engine second stage ignites and continues to be in place payloads in the correct orbit around the earth.
The first Falcon booster to safely land back on Earth is now outside the registered office of the company.