SpaceX Set For Launch On Dec. 16 Following Falcon 9 Rocket Launchpad Explosion [Video]By Noi Ramirez, UniversityHerald Reporter
SpaceX has set a date for its first Falcon 9 launch following the tragic launch pad explosion of its Falcon 9 rocket last September setting the launch date on Dec. 16 at 3:36 PM ET (12:36 PM PT) from Vanderberg Air Force Base, California.
Though technically still under investigation for its September Falcon 9 rocket launch pad explosion, SpaceX is reportedly awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). As of this report, the FAA, NASA, and the US Air Force are still conducting investigations that caused the explosion but a full incident report should be made public soon, according to The Wall Street Journal.
SpaceX has reportedly delivered one Falcon 9 rocket to Vanderberg while another one is being tested at the McGregor test center in Texas. Iridium CEO Matt Desch Tweeted a photo of the arrival of the Falcon 90 Rocket at the Launch site with a caption that reads "A beautiful sight... Soon, very soon."
— Matt Desch (@IridiumBoss) November 20, 2016
The planned SpaceX launch using a new Falcon 9 rocket will ferry a salvo of 10 Iridium next-generation satellites into orbit, pending FAA regulatory approval, c|net reported. Notedly, SpaceX launches have been suspended since the Sept. 1 launchpad explosion that caused the destruction of the Amos 6 communications satellite which was already onboard.
If all goes well, this would be the shortest turnaround time after a major incident involving SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rockets. In June 2015, a rocket failure caused the rocket to disintegrate 2 minutes and 19 seconds after lift-off.
SpaceX was able to bounce back and launch after 6 months, though SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the June 2015 and Sept. 2016 explosions were unrelated incidents. Approval for December would mean SpaceX would be able to launch again just 3 months after its last incident, which is a huge feat for SpaceX in itself.
Iridium spokesperson Diane Hockenberry, in a statement to Reuters, confirmed the plans. She said Iridium is confident that SpaceX understands the implications of the fueling process better now and will do it successfully for their launch.
SpaceX has not issued any statement as of yet.