SpaceX And Iridium Confirm Relaunch Next WeekBy Emily Marks, UniversityHerald Reporter
Iridium has announced last week that the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket may have another flight on Dec. 16. This time, the communications company will be sending 10 satellites on board for the launch.
It was previously reported that the Falcon 9 rocket explosion has had a negative effect on Iridium's launch schedule. The company needs SpaceX back on the launching pad as soon as possible in order to put up the Iridium NEXT constellation before the existing constellation gets decommissioned.
Last month, Elon Musk has confirmed that he and his team have finally figured out what caused the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explosion last Sep. 1. He also announced that rocket launches may resume as early as next month.
Last week, Reuters reported that the SpaceX launch, as announced by Iridium, still needs the approval of the Federal Aviation Administration. "We are looking forward to return to flight," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in a statement released by Iridium.
The cause of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explosion was found to be a fueling system problem. The blast destroyed a satellite, worth $200 million, owned by Israel's Space Communication Ltd.
"We are confident that SpaceX understands its fueling process now and will do it successfully for our launch," Iridium spokesperson Diane Hockenberry told the publication. She noted that the company's satellites will not be placed on board the rocket during the prelaunch engine firing.
According to The Motley Fool, the 10 satellites from Iridium are the first out of 81 spacecraft that the company will be sending to space. This is part of their efforts to replace satellites in an existing satellite constellation.
"Iridium NEXT will replace the world's largest commercial satellite network of low-earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest 'tech upgrades' in history," Iridium said in a statement. The company is working with SpaceX to launch 70 satellites.