SpaceX Completes Successful Rocket Launch

Private space exploration company SpaceX has conducted its first successful launch since the explosion of a rocket on the launchpad in September.

SpaceX sent the rocket into space Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It landed the first-stage mechanism successfully on a barge in the Pacific Ocean an important step in development of reusable rocket components.

 

A camera aboard the first stage gave viewers a real experience as it returned to Earth, flared landing rockets and made a perfect upright touchdown on the floating pad.

The return to flight is an important step for SpaceX, billionaire Elon Musk’s California-based company. It has about 70 launches in line, worth more than $10 billion. In addition to commercial launches, SpaceX ferries supplies to the International Space Station and is developing a capsule capable of carrying astronauts to the station.

SpaceX Completes Successful Rocket Launch
Rocket Launch

“Mission looks good,” SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter. “All satellites deployed.”

Saturday’s launch was the first in a series planned to upgrade Iridium’s global communications network. The US$3 billion project aims to send 81 satellites to space in the coming months.

The company hopes to reduce the cost of future space travel by developing a dependable system of retrieving and reusing launch rockets for future missions.

SpaceX Completes Successful Rocket Launch
Rocket Launch

The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 9:54 a.m. PST, carrying 10 communications satellites to be placed in orbit before returning to Earth. The first-stage piece of the rocket landed on the ocean barge about eight minutes after liftoff.

Last year, a Falcon 9 exploded on a Florida launchpad during a preflight test. Investigators determined that a helium tank had burst inside a liquid oxygen tank, triggering the explosion.

The rocket launched Saturday included modifications made in response to that accident. Including a redesigned helium canister. SpaceX also has adjusted its fueling procedures to minimize danger.

 

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