Published On: Mon, Oct 9th, 2017

SpaceX launch stream: Falcon 9 rocket launches 10 Iridium NEXT satellites – WATCH it here

The SpaceX Falcon9 rocket took off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 8.37am local time (1.37pm BST).

Onboard were 10 satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation – a communications network which will eventually be made up of 66 primary satellites and nine back-ups.

The first stage of the Falcon9 booster fell away in the lower atmosphere and successfully automated its return to Earth.

It landed as planned on an off-shore droneship dubbed Just Read The Instructions about seven and a half minutes after the launch.

About a minute and a half after the first stage landing, the second stage shut down having reach an initial “parking orbit” in space.

It then coasted for 41 minutes before the engine sprung back into action to put the vehicle in a 388-mile orbit.

Five minutes later, the first satellite was released, followed by nine more 100 seconds apart from each other.

“We’re 10 for 10, a clean sweep of Iridium NEXT satellite deployments in the desired final orbit,” said SpaceX mission commentator John Insprucker. “It’s been a great morning.”

SpaceX live-streamed the entire launch, which you can watch above.

The launch was the third of eight scheduled launches for the Iridum NEXT project, bringing the total number of satellites in orbit to 30.

The next launch set to take place in November, with a fifth planned for January.

Iridium expects the constellation to be operations in the “early second quarter” of 2018.

Today’s was the 17th successful booster landing out of 22 attempted, an important milestone for SpaceX founder Elon Musk who is attempting to bring down costs by refurbishing components.

The private spaceflight company hopes to eventually take advantage of fully reusable rockets.

On Wednesday SpaceX will launch a pre-flown Flacon9 booster into orbit from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a separate project.

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