SpaceX is all set for the seventh launch of Iridium Communications today, July 25 in the aim to recover the first stage and the payload fairing of Falcon 9.
It is the first time the company has one mission for a first stage landing and the recovery of payload that will be done by catcher ship Mr. Steven. The Falcon 9 will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 04:39 Pacific Time or 11:39 UTC.
The payload includes 10 Iridium-NEXT communications satellites. This makes the aggregate of launched satellites by Falcon 9 up to 65. It is as well the second last mission of the eight planned missions for the Iridium satellites.
The entire project of these missions has a drawback where the company had to invest US$ 5 billion, an amount that is yet to be raised by the customers. Initially, 77 satellites were required to provide worldwide service, but the number is now reduced to 66.
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81 second-gen Iridium-NEXT satellites were ordered by Iridium in June 2010 for this project, and the first launch was planned for early 2015 during that time. This order took care of 66 operational satellites and spares, and 55 of those are already in orbit (prior to today’s launch).
Regarding Falcon 9, it is a two-stage rocket that has been used for all of the Iridium-NEXT launch missions so far. Today’s mission is going to be the 59th flight of Falcon 9’s single core version. Falcon Heavy with all three cores was flown once before.
Before the last Iridium launch mission, Falcon 9 will be sent to several missions from Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral. Next week on Thursday, it will carry the Telkom 4 satellite to deploy for Indonesia. Stay tuned with us to follow SpaceX and Falcon 9’s busy schedules ahead!