Tag Archives: Just Read The Instructions

Falcon 9 lifts the second batch of Iridium Next spacecraft

Yesterday, less than 48 hours after the last Falcon 9 launch (from KSC’s LC-39A), a second Falcon 9 blasted off.  This one launched from Vandenberg AFB’s SLC-4 and delivered the next ten Iridium Next satellites.  Once enough Iridum Next spacecraft are delivered to orbit, they will begin to replace the famous initial constellation, which is nearing the end of its service life.  Alas, the new spacecraft are much smaller than the original Iridiums and will not wow spotters with bright flares with each pass.

The Falcon 9 for this flight is a full thrust Falcon 9 equipped with a new, all-titanium set of grid fins.  They’re heavier than the older ones, but can handle larger loads and provide more control authority.  This will be critical when the Falcon Heavy’s three cores attempt to return later this year.

This spacecraft’s first stage was successfully recovered by the drone ship Just Read The Instructions, and will eventually be reflown.

 

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Falcon 9 arrives in Los Angeles

The Falcon 9 first stage that placed the first flight of Iridium Next spacecraft into orbit has returned to land, coming ashore on its drone barge “Just Read The Instructions” at the Port of Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the first reflown booster has been announced: as rumored, the customers is SES, and in fact the first flown booster will carry their SES 10 payload in just a month’s time.  SpaceX has a very busy plate ahead of them, catching up from their hiatus, and so Falcon 9 will actually manage to fly three more times before the SES 10 mission.

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