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Iridium hails SpaceX launch, dawn of historical 'tech refresh'

Iridium hails SpaceX launch, dawn of historical 'tech refresh'”

The launch also included a successful landing of the Falcon 9's first stage aboard a SpaceX drone ship, Just Read the Instructions - the first time a rocket has landed on the vessel, in fact.

SpaceX is live-streaming the launch, which is scheduled to begin at 12:54 p.m. ET.

NEXT will eventually replace Iridium's current communications network, which consists of 66 satellites in low-Earth orbit, company representatives have said.

Indeed, when Iridium signed a deal with SpaceX in 2010 to launch 70 Iridium-NEXT satellites, valued at $492 million, it was the largest single launch deal ever engaged.

And on top of this, the company wants to enshroud the planet in (and sell) high-speed internet as it takes on a jaw-dropping effort to launch 4,425 satellites - more than humanity has launched off Earth. Weather is expected to be favorable as experts have forecast a 60 percent chance of better weather during the launch.

But lower costs can not offset significantly higher risk, and industry analysts say SpaceX needs a string of successful flights to maintain its long-range goal of capturing a major share of the commercial launch market.

In addition to marking SpaceX's return to flight, this mission marks the first deployment of Iridium's next-generation satellites.

SpaceX launched 10 satellites to orbit today (Jan. 14) in a rousing return-to-flight mission that also included a rocket landing on a ship at sea. But hopefully, the only explosion anyone will see on Saturday is the carefully engineered one coming out the business end of a Falcon 9, sending it safely into orbit.

Although SpaceX's most recent launch was a failure, the company has a pretty good track record. Falcon 9's successful launch on Jan 14 will likely bring back the confidence levels and keep the team motivated for taking on SpaceX's ambitious plans.

SpaceX will broadcast the launch on its YouTube channel.

SpaceX has been working to convert a disused launch complex at Vandenberg, SLC-4W, to a landing facility. The company hopes to fly one of these returned or "flight-proven" rockets in 2017.

Elon Musk-led SpaceX is all set for the resumption of rocket flight services on January 14, Saturday, with the launch of a bunch of Iridium satellites.

At just before 1pm eastern time, SpaceX completed its first launch since September. The company has three rocket models - the Falcon 9, the Falcon Heavy, and the Dragon - that it now deploys on contract missions, such as delivering cargo supplied to the International Space Station for NASA.



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