Spacex launches final batch of next-generation satellites
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.