SpaceX set to launch satellites from California

Posted June 27, 2017

The second batch of 10 satellites is now scheduled to launch on a Falcon 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California Sunday (June 25), making a weekend doubleheader for SpaceX.

SpaceX kicked off its rocket launch double-feature Friday by launching a Bulgarian communications satellite into orbit from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The first 10 Iridium NEXT satellites were sent into a pole-to-pole orbit aboard a two-stage Falcon 9 that was launched in January.

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The satellites that launched Sunday will be part of a so-called constellation operated by Iridium Communications Inc.

In the process, it became the first booster to notch a launch from the West Coast and the East Coast. Check out the interactive map below for the best spots.

Though Iridium's contract with SpaceX now specifies that new first-stages will be used to launch the satellites, company Chief Executive Matt Desch said earlier this week he would be "open" to using a previously flown booster in the future.

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An hour after launch, all 10 Iridium NEXT satellites were successfully deployed to low-Earth orbit. Iridium Next will conduct six more missions over the next year. As expected from the rocket company, the first stage of the rocket will be landing on the drone ship.

Just a few minutes later, the rocket's first stage landed safely on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean. The company is likely to achieve even more as it plans to fix a spoilt pad at Cape Canaveral towards the end of the year to allow services from its Texas spaceport by the beginning of next year.

The missions saw both rockets drop from space landing into the sea to ensure that the boosters would be available for reuse in the future. Musk has said that previously-flown rockets are sold at about a 30% discount, but even a brand-new Falcon 9 costs tens of millions of dollars less than those of other launch providers.

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No matter what you did over the weekend, you'll struggle to top Elon Musk's after his space trucking venture launched 11 satellites atop two rockets, both of which stuck flawless landings on barges.