SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket delivers 10 satellites into orbit

321 Launch App Brings Live Rocket Experience to Mobile Devices

SpaceX reuses the first stage of its two-stage Falcon 9 rockets.

The private space firm SpaceX today launched with a partially-reused rocket the latest group of communication satellites to upgrade mobile, voice and data networks for Virginia-based firm Iridium.

If that sounds like a lot of launches for Iridium to you, you're not wrong. NOAA restricted SpaceX from continuing the live stream, it said that the cameras on the Falcon 9 would qualify as a remote sensing system and would need a license for the flight. In fact, the rocket that shuttled Iridium's satellites into orbit today was used in the third Iridium launch back on October 9. These 10 satellites bring the number of Iridium satellites in the constellation to 50. SpaceX has launched the first four missions, totaling 40 satellites, in 2017.

Musk, who is also the co-founder and chief executive of electric automaker Tesla Inc., said in 2015 that SpaceX planned to launch a satellite-internet business that would help fund a future city on Mars. A seventh mission, known as CRS-14, is slated for Monday, during which SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will resupply the International Space Station as part of the company's contract with NASA.

"It's a unique coincidence that we passed the one million subscribers mark right at this launch, and it's particularly exciting because we've surpassed this milestone earlier than we had anticipated", said Matt Desch, chief executive officer at Iridium.

On Thursday, the USA communications regulator gave formal approval to a plan by Elon Musk's SpaceX to build a global broadband network using satellites. He adds that the boat is a giant steel and webbing catcher's mitt superstructure on a high-speed ocean ship.

SpaceX has not publicly confirmed that it will attempt to land a fairing half on Mr. Steven's net again, but tracking site MarineTraffic shows the ship left the Port of Los Angeles on Thursday. And on Friday morning, just before launch, it was positioned due west of Baja California.

The company has quietly tried to recapture the 43-foot-long fairing halves since at least March of 2017. Musk said the fairing landed in the water "a few hundred meters" away from Mr. Steven. Not bad for someone trying to determine where an object would fall from space.

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