Spacex launches fi­nal batch of next-gen­er­a­tion satel­lites

The Punch - - INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY -

SPACEX com­pleted a ma­jor up­grade to a key telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite net­work on Fri­day af­ter two years of launches.

A Fal­con 9 rocket built by elon Musk’s space ven­ture launched the fi­nal ten satel­lites of a 75-piece con­stel­la­tion for Iridium, a satel­lite oper­a­tor, just af­ter 7:30 am from Cal­i­for­nia’s Van­den­berg Air Force Base, the CNN re­ports.

The sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion satel­lite net­work, dubbed Iridium NEXT, aims to of­fer im­proved satel­lite-based in­ter­net and phone ser­vices as well as marine and air traf­fic mon­i­tor­ing.

Shortly af­ter launch Fri­day, Iridium con­firmed that all 10 new satel­lites had “suc­cess­fully com­mu­ni­cated” with ground sys­tems. Now the com­pany is pre­par­ing for ad­di­tional tests.

“We’re not quite across the fin­ish line yet, as there is still some work to do to put these satel­lites into op­er­a­tion,” Iridium Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Matt Desch said in a state­ment. “Once that’s com­plete, our fu­ture will be in place. I’m just in­cred­i­bly proud of our team right now.”

Iridium stock jumped nearly six per cent on Fri­day.

Separately, Spacex said it once again re­cov­ered its booster dur­ing Fri­day’s mis­sion. Spacex pi­o­neered the ma­neu­ver of guid­ing first-stage rocket boost­ers back to earth so they can be reused and re­duce launch costs.

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