Technology: SpaceX launches final set of Iridium satellites - PressFrom - US
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TechnologySpaceX launches final set of Iridium satellites

18:30  11 january  2019
18:30  11 january  2019 Source:   cbsnews.com

SpaceX wins approval to deploy more than 7,500 satellites

SpaceX wins approval to deploy more than 7,500 satellites Elon Musk’s SpaceX won permission to deploy more than 7,000 satellites, far more than all operating spacecraft currently aloft, from U.S. regulators who also moved to reduce a growing risk from space debris as skies grow more crowded. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. has two test satellites aloft, and it earlier won permission for a separate set of 4,425 satellites -- which like the 7,518 satellites authorized Thursday are designed to provide broadband communications. It has said it plans to begin launches next year.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a final set of 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites blasted off from California early Friday to complete a billion 75- satellite If the unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station goes smoothly, SpaceX and NASA hope to launch the first two-man crew

SpaceX will be launching the 8th and final mission for Iridium . This launch will place the final 10 Iridium Next satellites in low Earth polar orbit and

SpaceX launches final set of Iridium satellites© SpaceX 011119-iridium1.jpg

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a final set of 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites blasted off from California early Friday to complete a $3 billion 75-satellite upgrade that will add long-awaited broadband and aircraft tracking services to Iridium's globe-spanning satellite telephone network.

SpaceX planned to recover the booster's previously flown first stage with a landing on an off-shore droneship named "Just Read The Instructions." It was the company's first landing try since a wayward booster returned to an off-target splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Canaveral on Dec. 5.

Rocket carrying 64 satellites takes off from California

Rocket carrying 64 satellites takes off from California A SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small satellites has lifted off from California with a first stage that has been used twice before. The Falcon 9 blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 10:34 a.m. Monday, arcing over the Pacific west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space. If all goes well, the rocket's first stage will perform a so-called boost back maneuver and land on an unmanned ship in the Pacific. The first stage was previously launched and recovered during missions in May and August. SpaceX founder Elon Musk has made reusability a major goal.

On Friday, January 11 at 7:31 a.m. PST, 15:31 UTC, SpaceX successfully launched the eighth and final set of satellites in a series of 75 total satellites for Iridium ’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. Falcon 9’s first stage delivered the second stage to its targeted orbit

SpaceX rocket launches 10 Iridium NEXT satellites . By William Harwood. SpaceX plans to launch the fourth set in late November. With a successful launch Monday, SpaceX will "We're 10 for 10, a clean sweep of Iridium NEXT satellite deployments in the desired final orbit," said SpaceX mission

Assuming Friday's launch goes well, SpaceX will turn its attention to readying another Falcon 9 for launch early next month from the Kennedy Space Center on a critical test flight of the company's commercially-built Crew Dragon astronaut ferry ship.

If the unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station goes smoothly, SpaceX and NASA hope to launch the first two-man crew to the lab complex later this summer, the first piloted launch aboard an American-made rocket since the space shuttle was retired in 2011.

For Iridium, the launching Friday marked a major milestone in its own right, the eighth and final flight in a complex satellite-by-satellite replacement of the company's aging first-generation relay stations with more powerful spacecraft offering more faster communications and new services.

Reused rocket takes off carrying 64 satellites

Reused rocket takes off carrying 64 satellites A SpaceX rocket carrying 64 small satellites lifted off from California on Monday, marking the first time the same Falcon 9 rocket has been used in three space missions.The rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, arcing over the Pacific Ocean west of Los Angeles as it headed toward space. Minutes later, the rocket's first stage performed a so-called boost back maneuver and landed on an unmanned ship in the Pacific. The landing marked the first time SpaceX had flown a first stage three times.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 Iridium Next satellites blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California this morning (Jan. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the final 10 Iridium Next communications satellites for a new constellation launches from Space Launch Complex 4E of

SpaceX 's Falcon 9 rocket deployed the eighth and final set of next-generation Iridium satellites into orbit today, closing off a two-year launch campaign. The rocket rose into partly cloudy skies from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base at 7:31 a.m. PT after a trouble-free countdown. Iridium .

"The ending (of the launch campaign) doesn't seem as big of a deal as the beginning," said Matt Desch, Iridium's CEO. "Well, for Iridium it's a huge deal. ... There was a lot of excitement when our first launch finally occurred two years ago on Jan. 14, 2017, which was amazing and very important. But our final launch ... is by far the most important milestone of all."

He said the completion of the $3 billion network refresh will open the door to new services and revenue streams, "but to me, this launch symbolizes something even more important."

"It means finally realizing the dream the founders of this system had more than 30 years ago," he said. "It means our network will finally achieve the financial independence and the security that make the satellite network operator mature and successful and creates a lot of opportunities for us that we've never had before.

"This is a big deal for our customers, our partners and frankly, for the industry itself."

Moldy mouse food postpones SpaceX launch

Moldy mouse food postpones SpaceX launch SpaceX has postponed its cargo launch to the International Space Station until Wednesday after mold was found on food bars for a mouse experiment bound for the orbiting outpost, NASA said. The launch was initially set for Tuesday. The new time is 1:16 pm (1816 GMT) Wednesday. "The launch was moved to Wednesday after mold was found on food bars for a rodent investigation prior to handover to SpaceX," NASA said in a statement late Monday. "Teams will use the extra day to replace the food bars." Some 40 mice are part of the experiment aimed at studying the effects of microgravity in the immune system.

Iridium has contracted SpaceX to launch seventy-five of the Iridium -NEXT spacecraft via its Falcon 9 rocket. The first launches under this contract were conducted earlier this year: Falcon missions in January and June have deployed twenty satellites into orbit. Another launch is expected later this

9, launching ten more Iridium Next satellites on a Falcon 9 from California. The SpaceX Falcon 9, on the 14th mission of the year for the company, launched at The payload of 10 Iridium Next satellites , each capable of L-band voice and data communications using a 48-beam phased array antenna

The Falcon 9, using a first stage that helped launch a satellite from Cape Canaveral last September, thundered to life at 10:31:33 a.m. EDT (GMT-5) and climbed away from complex 4-East at Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.

With its nine first stage engines generating a combined 1.7 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon 9 quickly arced away to the south over the Pacific Ocean as it consumed propellants, lost weight and smoothly accelerated toward a 483-mile-high polar orbit tilted 86.4 degrees to the equator.

Two-and-a-half minutes after launch, the first stage fell away and re-oriented itself for re-entry and landing. The second stage, meanwhile, fired up its single engine for the first of two planned burns to reach the target altitude.

Once in position about an hour after launch, the Iridium NEXT satellites were expected to be released, one at a time, from a dispenser atop the second stage.

The first stage was programmed to fire three of its engines in a "boostback" burn to reverse course, then again to slow down for the tail-first plunge back into the thick lower atmosphere. Using titanium "grid fins" to maintain its orientation, the rocket was expected to re-ignite a single engine for landing on the droneship "Just Read The Instructions" about seven minutes after liftoff.

SpaceX to launch U.S. spy satellite in first national security mission

SpaceX to launch U.S. spy satellite in first national security mission Elon Musk's SpaceX was poised on Tuesday to launch a new spy satellite for the U.S. military, marking what the space transportation company said was its first designated national security mission for the United States. SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, carrying a roughly $500 million GPS satellite built by Lockheed Martin Corp , was scheduled for lift off from Florida's Cape Canaveral shortly after 9 a.m. (1700 GMT) local time, the U.S. Air Force said.

The mission, carrying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit, completes Iridium ’s project to replace the world’s largest commercial communication satellite network with 75 new satellites in orbit. Friday’s launch was SpaceX ’s eighth and final in a series for Iridium , which is headquartered in Virginia.

Original: SpaceX is set to launch its first Falcon 9 rocket of the year this morning out of California — a flight that will also mark the first orbital mission of Today’s flight, called Iridium -8, will send up the final batch of satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation. SpaceX has held a contract with Iridium

SpaceX's recovery record going into Friday's flight stood at 32 successful landings, 20 on droneships, 11 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and one at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Six landing attempts were unsuccessful.

While a key part of SpaceX's drive to lower launch costs, booster recoveries are a secondary objective. The primary goal of Friday's flight was putting the 10 Iridium NEXT satellites into the intended orbit.

The Iridium constellation requires 66 satellites, 11 in each of six orbital planes, putting users within line of sight from anywhere in the world. The 10 launched Friday were bound for plane No. 3, the only one still using older-generation block 1 satellites. Those six older relay stations will be replaced by six of the new spacecraft with the remaining four serving as orbital spares.

After Friday's launch, Iridium will have the full suite of 66 NEXT satellites in orbit with nine space-based spares and another six held in reserve on the ground.

SpaceX launches final set of Iridium satellites© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Iridium NEXT satellites being prepared for launch in a clean room at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

"The new satellites are a lot more powerful, a lot more processing power, they've got a lot more memory, a lot more capacity, they actually expand our ability to support customers," Desch said in an earlier interview. And, he added, "they're easier to operate."

SpaceX halts launch of U.S. military satellite due to winds

SpaceX halts launch of U.S. military satellite due to winds Elon Musk's SpaceX scrapped Saturday's launch of a long-delayed navigation satellite for the U.S. military due to strong upper level winds. The next launch attempt will be on Sunday at 8:51 a.m. EST/ 13:51 UTC, according to SpaceX officials. The launch, SpaceX's fourth attempt in a week after technical and weather delays, would have been the rocket firm's first national security space mission for the United States. Musk's rocket company has spent years trying to break into the lucrative market for military space launches long dominated by Lockheed and Boeing Co. SpaceX sued the U.S.

The private spaceflight company launched the satellites atop a re-used Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Friday, March 30, 2018. The Iridium -5 mission is the fifth set of satellites for Iridium Communications' 75- satellite constellation.

SpaceX successfully launched the eighth and final set of satellites for Iridium ’s next-generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT, on Friday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Photo by SpaceX /UPI | License Photo.

The 1,896-pound solar-powered satellites, designed by Thales Alenia Space and mass produced assembly-line fashion by Northrop Grumman in Arizona, each feature a phased-array antenna that can generate 48 beams over a footprint 3,000 miles across.

Each satellite can communicate with up to four others -- one ahead, one behind and one to either side in adjacent orbital planes -- to provide a global communications network that includes hand-held phones, machine-to-machine devices and ship- and aircraft-born data transmitters.

The Iridium Certus payload will provide L-band communications at up to 1.4 megabits per second for ships, aircraft and other mobile users. While relatively slow by smartphone standards, it's a major boost given the 128-kilobit-per-second speed of Iridium's block 1 satellites.

"When you're in the middle of nowhere, or the cockpit of an airplane or you're on a ship, that's going to be a whole lot more performance," Desch said.

The new spacecraft also carry a payload provided by a multi-agency consortium known as Aireon that will track aircraft anywhere in the world. The result, Desch said, will be improved safety and efficiency.

"Airplanes are going to be able to take off that otherwise would be held on the ground because the air traffic controllers know they'll be able to see them," Desch told reporters last week. "There's this east coast thing, for example, when storms come through where they hold airplanes at JFK going to the Caribbean because they don't want to fly them out over the ocean where they can't see them. Now, they'll be able to see them.

"There'll be routes that'll be shorter and time taken out because they're more direct, they'll be faster airplanes they can route around slower airplanes, they're going to be able to save fuel. All of these things add up to a lot of improvement in the air traffic control (system). I think it's inevitable that everybody will be deploying it."

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