Published: Tue, October 10, 2017
Research | By Derrick Holloway

SpaceX rocket blasts off from Vandenberg for third satellite mission

It was the 14th Falcon 9 flight of the year, and the 42nd launch of a Falcon 9 rocket overall since 2010.

SpaceX is targeting launch of Iridium-3 from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SpaceX plans to launch the fourth set in late November. On Monday, the Falcon 9 will carry the third set of 10 Iridium-NEXT communication satellites which will be further deployed into low Earth Orbit. This is third of the scheduled eight launches that the Musk-led space company will make for Iridium, which is engaged in setting up a new constellation of communications satellites, dubbed Iridium NEXT.

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Iridium NEXT is the company's next-generation satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of interconnected, low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the entire globe - the largest commercial satellite constellation in space.

Apart from the SpaceX launch, two more launches are scheduled for Monday - the first will see the launch of a communications satellite on-board a Chinese Long March 2D rocket, while the second will be the launch of a Michibiki 4 navigation spacecraft on-board a Japanese H-2A rocket.

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About a minute and a half after the first stage landing, the second stage shut down having reach an initial "parking orbit" in space. Base officials called the launch successful. The Falcon 9 booster landed successfully on a barge in the Pacific south of Vandenberg. "Iridium Satellite Time and Location (STL), Short Burst Data (SBD) and Push-to-Talk (PTT) are just a few examples of global services only possible on our network", said Iridium Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Matt Desch.

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