On 9:54 am PT (12:54 p.m. ET) on Saturday morning, January 14, 2017, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket’s launch window opens yet again. After the failed launch more than three months ago of the unmanned Falcon 9 rocket carrying the satellite that Facebook would have used, the launch is now in its final minutes of preparation at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
LIVE UPDATE 1: Falcon 9 was successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base and has entered its “Parking Orbit” on Stage 2. In a few more minutes, the second stage engines will be fired again.
The Iridium-1 Mission is an attempt by entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Elon Musk, to carry and deploy 10 satellites into a low-earth orbit for the purpose of providing “real time connections between people, organizations and assets to and from anywhere.”
Over the next one year, seventy Iridium NEXT satellites will be deployed, and will expand the speed and bandwidth of the data and voice solutions provider. In a recent statement from Iridium, the company said:
“Iridium NEXT will replace the world’s largest commercial satellite network of low-Earth orbit satellites in what will be one of the largest ‘tech upgrades in history.'”
Falcon 9’s first attempt ended in an explosion reportedly caused by the rupturing of a pressure vessel containing liquid oxygen that overwraps another tank containing helium. The helium tank apparently showed buckles, where the super-cooled oxygen pooled under extreme pressure and was ignited by either a fiber break or friction, according to the anomaly report that was filed by SpaceX.
The $200 million AMOS-6 satellite made by Israeli company Spacecom was destroyed in the explosion, as were Facebook’s plans to have a satellite for their own use.
At the time, January 8 was the expected second launch window, which has been moved to today, January 14, 2017.
We will update this article with the progress of the launch as the news breaks. Stay tuned!
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