US based rocket manufacturing company SpaceX successfully launched constellation of 10 satellites into orbit on board of its two stage Falcon 9 Rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The satellites were deployed into the designated to low-Earth orbit about an hour after launch. Besides, rocket’s first stag also landed upright on a so-called droneship in the Pacific Ocean south of Vandenberg.
- The constellation of 10 satellites was launched as part of McLean, Virginia-based Iridium’s project to replace its existing network of satellites that provide global voice and data communications.
- This was SpaceX’s first launch since September 2016 accident of similar rocket on a Florida launch pad which exploded after its launch along with $200 million Israeli communications satellites Amos-6.
- SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) is aerospace manufacturer and space transport services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California, US.
- It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and former PayPal entrepreneur with the goal of creating the technologies to reduce space transportation costs and enable the colonization of Mars.
- SpaceX has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, both designed to be reusable. It also has developed Dragon spacecraft to supply cargo to the International Space Station (ISS). It is also developing a manned version of Dragon is in development.
- SpaceX’s achievements: First privately funded, liquid-propellant rocket Falcon 1 to reach orbit in 2008. First privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (Dragon) in 2010. First private company to send a spacecraft (Dragon) to the ISS, in 2012.
- As of July 2016, it has flown nine missions to the ISS under a cargo resupply contract with NASA signed in 2006.