920th Rescue Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen Assist SpaceX In Successful Rocket Launch

  • 920th Rescue Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen Assist SpaceX In Successful Rocket Launch

920th Rescue Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen Assist SpaceX In Successful Rocket Launch

A thick marine layer blanketing Vandenberg Air Force Base in California restricted views of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket lifting off early Wednesday, but cameras fixed to the launcher provided spectacular imagery of the predawn departure with 10 Iridium satellites on-board.

In the live broadcast of the launch, he later said that the weather conditions were the "worst that we've ever had for trying to get a first stage on the drone ship".

SpaceX had planned to catch the rocket's fairing with a giant net stretched across their recovery boat called Mr Steven, however, the boat was unable to catch the rocket nose. Choppy seas added to the challenge of landing the first stage back on Earth.

The 10 Iridium Next satellites launched as part of the seventh mission were delivered to orbital plane number five, where they will go in to operation immediately following testing and validation. Sunday's flight marked the record-breaking heaviest payload brought into orbit by a Falcon 9 and the second block 5 flight.

Iridium NEXT is the company's $3 billion, next-generation, mobile, global satellite network scheduled for completion in 2018. While other firms discard their rockets after a mission, SpaceX has sought to develop hardware that can make multiple trips to space.

Today's deployment, like the six previous ones, was fully successful.

The Arianespace launch, aboard an Ariane 5 rocket, will be the company's fourth of the year and will carry four Galileo satellites, according to a company statement. However, SpaceX later had a visual proof that the booster touched down successfully.

After the Falcon 9 ejects the payload and the fairing detaches from the rest of the rocket, it will deploy parafoils, which are a type of parachute, to slow its decent.