SpaceX returns to flight with Falcon 9 rocket launch
It is the first mission by the company since one of its vehicles exploded on the launch pad in September. The return to operations sees SpaceX start to renew what was the original global handheld satellite phone network, run by Iridium. Lift-off took place at 9:54 AM local time.
A few minutes later, the first stage of the rocket landed successfully on a platform in the Pacific Ocean. An hour and 15 minutes after launch, the mission was complete with the Iridium payload safely in orbit. SpaceX must now follow through with a steady but rapid series of further flights.
It has a long queue of customers all waiting for a ride to orbit – including America’s civil space agency (Nasa), the nation’s military, and multiple outfits in the commercial sector. Indeed, Iridium has six further missions it wants to compete with SpaceX inside the next 18 months.