The Latest: 10 new Iridium satellites delivered to orbit
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the launch of 10 communications satellites by SpaceX (all times local):
Ten new satellites for Iridium Communications’ global network have been successfully deployed in orbit after launch from California.
The satellites were individually released from the upper stage of a Falcon 9 rocket that blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday morning.
Iridium now has 75 new satellites in orbit, including nine spares. The McLean, Virginia-based company’s $3 billion Iridium NEXT project replaces its entire original fleet.
The Falcon’s first stage successfully landed on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean, marking its second launch and recovery.
SpaceX has successfully landed a Falcon 9 first-stage on an autonomous vessel in the Pacific after launching 10 satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The landing Friday morning marked the second time the booster has been launched and recovered.
It was previously used in a launch last September from Florida.
SpaceX says the Falcon second stage has successfully reached an intermediate orbit.
After a period of coasting, the second stage will re-ignite and carry the satellites into position for deployment.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 Iridium Communications satellites has blasted off from California.
The rocket lifted off at 7:31 a.m. Friday at Vandenberg Air Force Base and arced over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles.
SpaceX will try to land the Falcon’s first stage on an autonomous vessel floating in the ocean.
The payload is the eighth and final set of satellites to be launched as Iridium replaces its entire globe-circling fleet with next-generation orbiters. Deployment of the satellites is scheduled to be completed a little over an hour after liftoff.
If successful, Iridium will have a total of 75 new satellites in orbit, including nine spares.
Iridium is deorbiting its original fleet of satellites.