Iridium-7 is Vertical for Launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base

Katie Ramirez
July 28, 2018

SpaceX also has a deal with a Louisiana-based ship company to use an oil supply vessel, called Mr. Steven.

SpaceX says that despite challenging weather and sea conditions, the Falcon's first stage successfully returned to Earth and landed on a "droneship" stationed in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg. The weather was predicted to have a 60 percent chance of acceptable conditions with evening rain showers lasting longer into the night than typical for the area.

It is the first time that the company is having one mission for a first stage landing and the recovery of payload that will be done by catcher ship Mr. Steven. "We've come a long way, and we are particularly excited to see the financial transformation enabled by the completion of the Iridium NEXT system and the associated drop in capital expenditures".

The launch is taking off with 10 iridium next satellites tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 4-39 a-m. Sunday's flight marked the record-breaking heaviest payload brought into orbit by a Falcon 9 and the second block 5 flight.

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One by one, the satellites took their place in Iridium's next-generation constellation, created to provide enhanced broadband services across the globe.

The launch happened just before 4:40 a.m. and was visible from Southern California's coastal areas. Nine of the satellites launched will serve as on-orbit spares, and the remaining six will be ground spares. However, SpaceX later had a visual proof that the booster touched down successfully.

The Arianespace launch, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket, will be the company's fourth of the year and will carry four Galileo satellites, according to a company statement. This makes the aggregate of launched satellites by Falcon 9 up to 65.

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