Telecommunications company Iridium has booked SpaceX – the company which is run by chief executive officer Elon Musk – for several missions that will leave Earth from the Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California Coast. At the weekend, the U.S.-based rocket company SpaceX completed back-to-back launches.
SpaceX has had 13 successful landing missions now
To put up a Bulgarian satellite from Florida this Friday, the U.S.-based rocket company used one of its refurbished Falcon 9 vehicles. SpaceX lofted another 10 spacecraft for Iridium again on Sunday. The rocket flew out of California this Sunday. The missions of the U.S.-based company – both of the missions – saw the the Falcon first-stages come back to Earth under control to the drone ships which were positioned out on the ocean.
This means that now the rocket company has had over 13 successful landing for the mission. The first-stage of Friday had a particularly difficult landing, looking bent over on the live video feed. On the micro-blogging site – Twitter – Elon Musk wrote, “Rocket is extra toasty and hit the deck hard (used almost all of the emergency crush core), but otherwise good.”
The CEO does not expect to recover all boosters because the flight profile required on many satellite launches would lead to re-entry speeds, which are quite fast to curtail with the available propellant. The mission on Friday was released from the US East Coast, from the famous Apollo and shuttle pad – 39A – of Kennedy Space Center.
Here’s how the spacecraft will be used
The report by news site BBC News notes that “second-hand” Falcon 9 lifted off at 15:10 local time (19:10 GMT). Further, the news outlet reports that the passenger – BulgariaSat-1 – was dropped off some 30 minutes later in orbit. The spacecraft will be used by the U.S.-based company to beam TV into homes in Serbia and Bulgaria. The first mission in which the Falcon booster was last flown was in January where 10 satellites were launched for the Iridium data-relay and sat-phone company. The first mission was another Iridium launch that was better than the other weekend activities.
The second mission from the Vandenberg Air Force Base occurred on the West Coast on a brand new Falcon. The lift-off on Sunday occurred at 20:25 GMT or 13:25 local time. The report by BBC notes that the returning booster on the second mission sported new titanium grid fins to assist in steering the vehicle back to its waiting drone ship.
The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors tweeted, “New titanium grid fins worked even better than expected. Should be capable of an indefinite number of flights with no service.”