SpaceX completed a “doubleheader” of launches June 25 with the launch of a second set of next-generation Iridium satellites from California, two days after another Falcon 9 from the East Coast.
The system uses GPS data and onboard computers to monitor the rocket's trajectory and destroy it should it go off course. It was first tested earlier this year on a Falcon 9 launch from the Kennedy Space Center.
NROL-79 took off at 12:50 pm Eastern from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, on ULA’s 21st mission for the intelligence agency.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Jan. 14 and successfully delivered ten Iridium Communications satellites into polar orbit.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has issued a launch license to SpaceX for the upcoming return to flight of its Falcon 9, although its planned launch has been delayed by at least one day.
SpaceX carried out a test of a recovered Falcon 9 first stage late Jan. 15 as the company prepares for its next launch and landing attempt.
SpaceX performed a successful static fire test of its Falcon 9 rocket late Jan. 11, clearing the way for the launch of an ocean science satellite, and another first stage landing attempt, this weekend.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket launched a classified payload for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office Dec. 12 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.