SpaceX on Friday successfully launched a payload of global communications satellites for Iridium, marking the first launch of 2019 for Elon Musk’s California-based company. The mission, transporting 10 Iridium NEXT satellites to orbit, completes the Iridium NEXT project to replace the world’s largest commercial communication satellite network with 75 new ones. Read more to watch the landing video and for additional information.
Elon Musk has just unveiled the completed Starship prototype (above) ahead of Friday’s big event. SpaceX is set to launch 10 Iridium NEXT satellites from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. This would be the eighth and final set of satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT. Iridium is currently the only satellite communications network that spans the entire globe, and Iridium NEXT is one of the largest “tech upgrades” in space history, since the process of replacing the satellites individually in a constellation of this size and scale has never been done before. Read more for a live video feed of the launch that is set to begin at 7:31 a.m. PST, or 15:31 UTC, and the mission timeline.
SpaceX’s Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket have gone vertical on Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida with both having to undergo a series of fit checks ahead of a planned demonstration flight to the International Space Station. The test flight is scheduled for January 17, but Elon Musk suggests that it could happen in early February. This Crew Dragon mission is a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, designed to send US astronauts into space whom have not launched into space from US soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011. Read more for two more pictures and additional information.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has just released a new image of the company’s Starship, or at least a sneak peak at a “test hopper” component that will most likely detach from the “Super Heavy” booster system. The hopper is mostly constructed of stainless steel instead of carbon fiber, like the Falcon 9, but throws in a mix of new alloys that differentiate it from past rockets. Musk wants a test flight completed before May 2019, and the prototype vehicle could be just as wide as the final Starship at 30 feet across, minus the height. Read more for another picture, video and additional information.