Successful SpaceX launch delivers satellites into orbit

Successful SpaceX launch delivers satellites into orbit

SpaceX Jun26
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is seen before lift off, carrying 10 more satellites for Iridium Communications, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. (SpaceX via AP)

LOS ANGELES: The American company SpaceX on Sunday (Jun 25) successfully placed 10 satellites for the communications company Iridium into orbit using a Falcon 9 rocket.

After launching as scheduled from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 1.25pm local time (4.25am Singapore time Sunday), the Falcon 9's first stage returned less than eight minutes after taking off.

As planned, it landed on a barge floating in the Pacific Ocean.

SpaceX has successfully landed multiple rockets on both land and water, as part of its effort to bring down the cost of space flight by re-using multi-million dollar components instead of jettisoning them in the ocean after launch.

It was the second series of Iridium satellites launched by SpaceX, after a set of 10 were delivered in January.

In total SpaceX, which is headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, will launch a series of 75 satellites for Iridium's satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT by 2018.

The US$3 billion project is a bid to upgrade the Virginia-based Iridium's global communications network.

Source: AFP/de