SpaceX launches satellites from California base

SpaceX launches satellites from California base

Hawthorne-based aerospace firm SpaceX successfully launched a commercial communications satellite into orbit Friday, and it marked the second time the company has re-used the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket, continuing its pioneering effort to recycle equipment and slash costs. The rocket's first stage the 14-story-tall core that houses the fuel and the rocket's main engines touched down on one of the company's autonomous drone ships in the Atlantic Ocean shortly after taking off from a launch pad at nearby Cape Canaveral, Florida.

In total SpaceX, which is headed by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, will launch a series of 75 satellites for Iridium's satellite constellation, Iridium NEXT by 2018. The initial phases of the launch went as planned, with the second stage entering low Earth orbit for a coast phase prior to a second burn and then spacecraft separation. Check out the interactive map below for the best spots.

This is the second launch in SpaceX's campaign to put 75 Iridium NEXT spacecraft into a constellation that's created to provide global high-speed satellite data transmission as well as aircraft tracking and surveillance. And completing a second mission with a used rocket will signal to SpaceX's customers that it can pull off the maneuver safely.

SpaceX hopes to reuse its first stages as many as 10 times each, making launches a lot cheaper. The latest event comprised of 10 new satellites for Iridium that will uplift Iridium's NEXT constellation mission. SpaceX also succeeded to land the Falcon 9 first rocket on the ocean-based barge despite the complicated weather conditions. That satellite will provide broadcast and communications service throughout eastern Europe.

More news: IOS 11 vs iOS 10: What's New in iOS 11

Musk's next milestone is to launch two rockets within 24 hours of each other.

The BulgariaSat-1 mission launched on Friday, at 3:10 p.m. The upper stage of the rocket carried a Bulgarian geostationary communications satellite designed and built by Space System Loral (SSL), and put it into orbit.

Iridium has six more launches scheduled with SpaceX over the following 12 months, CEO Matt Desch said during a call with reporters on June 19th.

It's the fastest turnaround yet for two SpaceX launches, but if it's going to launch as many satellites as it says, there are more rapid-fire liftoffs to come.

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