NASA awarded a launch contract to SpaceX July 8 for the launch of a small astrophysics mission as the company offered a Falcon 9 at a lower price than a much smaller rocket.
The rocket took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 10:30 p.m. Eastern, and deployed the satellites into a low Earth orbit a little over an hour later.
The Indonesian communications satellite that is SpaceX’s primary payload for its second Falcon 9 launch this year overcame a change of manufacturers and the loss of a U.S. Ex-Im Bank loan to reach the launch pad.
An experimental Air Force small satellite intended to test space situational awareness technologies will be a secondary payload on the upcoming Falcon 9 launch of a commercial communications satellite and lunar lander.
45th Space Wing Commander: “We are now working with General Thompson’s folks and SpaceX to see whether we can launch tomorrow."
The failure of a Falcon 9 first stage to make its planned landing after a Dec. 5 launch shouldn’t affect plans for upcoming launches, a SpaceX executive said.
On the company’s 20th mission of the year and second within 48 hours, SpaceX successfully launched a Dragon cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station Dec. 5, but suffered a rare failed landing of the rocket’s first stage.
As SpaceX prepares to launch a Falcon 9 carrying dozens of small satellites, some experts are worried that it will be difficult to track and identify the satellites once in orbit.
SpaceX matched its personal best with its 18th launch this year, delivering the Es’hail-2 communications satellite to geostationary transfer orbit for Qatari operator Es’hailSat.
NASA has certified SpaceX’s Falcon 9 to launch the agency’s most important science missions, giving the agency new options that could result in lower costs.
SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk said Nov. 7 that his company will attempt an orbital flight of a reusable version of a Falcon 9 upper stage by the middle of next year to test technologies for the company’s next-generation launch vehicle.
The last mission needed to complete Iridium Communications’ second-generation satellite constellation is scheduled for Dec. 30, Iridium CEO Matt Desch said today.
SpaceX conducted its seventeenth launch of the year Oct. 7, sending an Argentine radar satellite into low-Earth orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket.