Elon Musk's Falcon 9's nose crashes, yet deployed 10 satellites successfully

A Valley rocket company is looking to blast past SpaceX in the private company space race
A Valley rocket company is looking to blast past SpaceX in the private company space race
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01 April, 2018

The first stage booster for today's launch was previously flown during Iridium-3 in October 2017, making this the second Iridium NEXT launch to use a flight-proven Falcon 9 rocket. However, it is attempting to recover part of the fairing, which is the nose cone on the top of the rocket that protects the satellites on their way into space. This time it performed a simulated landing over the ocean but was not recovered for reuse.

Elon Musk and his team over at SpaceX are celebrating another successful launch this morning.

To date, Iridium has completed five launches of 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, all with SpaceX from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The contract calls for SpaceX to launch a total of 75 satellites for Iridium. The company attempted such a recovery during a February launch, but the fairing missed the net by "a few hundred meters".

"It has onboard thrusters and a guidance system to bring it through the atmosphere intact, then releases a parafoil and our ship with basically a giant catcher's mitt welded on tries to catch it", Musk said, sharing a photo of the boat.

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The instantaneous launch window for the Iridium-5 mission will open at 7:13am PT (14:13 UTC), and the webcast below should begin about 15 minutes before that time. However, a problem has encountered the parafoil on the fairing twisted and the object impacted the water at high speed. The video window embedded above will spring to life shortly before the launch and feature commentary from SpaceX while the launch takes place.

SpaceX now has USA permission to fly 4,425 satellites in a swarming constellation to deliver internet service to consumers below-more than tripling the number of active satellites in orbit around the earth.

SpaceX requested a waiver so it would only need to fly 1,600 satellites in that period, arguing that it would be physically impossible to launch all 4,425 during the same period-a launch cadence of 60 satellites per month.

The next launch on SpaceX's agenda is a resupply mission to the International Space Station set to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 40 on April 2.


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