SpaceX launches, lands rocket in challenging conditions

Falcon 9 с десятью спутниками запущена с космодрома в Калифорнии

The company SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 with the ten communication satellites Iridium. A group of satellites, Iridium NEXT to replace on-orbit satellites of the previous generation.

Liftoff from Vandenberg Air Force Base occurred on time at 4:39 a.m. PT, amid fog so thick that the two-stage rocket's ascent could only be seen as a bright spot in the murk. The satellite will use onboard propulsion to circularize its orbit some 22,300 miles (35,900 kilometers)-geostationary orbit-and move into the orbital slot at 63 degrees west to provide communications coverage between northern Canada and South America. The crew on SpaceX's fairing recovery boat "Mr Steven", which was recently upgraded with a quadrupled-in-size catcher's net, was in visual range of the fairings as they fell in the Pacific Ocean, according to SpaceX's launch narrator.

The launch on Wednesday is the second in four days. Meanwhile, the Falcon 9's first stage continued into orbit under the power of a single Merlin engine. "We have choppy seas, so today's landing attempt is going to be very iffy", said SpaceX spokesperson John Insprucker during the launch stream. "These conditions are the worst, which was when trying to land the first stage on an automatic platform", he told reporters portal the representative of the company Ilona Mask.

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The nose cone, or fairing, rests on the top of the rocket, and it acts as a shield for the satellites during launch. The Iridium network is comprised of six polar orbiting planes, each containing 11 crosslinked satellites for a total of 66 in the operational constellation.

Based on the SSL 1300 platform, the spacecraft is about 15,600 pounds (7,076 kilograms) and is created to operate for about 15 years.

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