SpaceX delivers satellites for Iridium

SpaceX delivers satellites for Iridium

On January 14th, SpaceX delivered 10 satellites for Iridium, which is a world leading mobile provider.

SpaceX launched their rocket Falcon 9 on January 14th for a mission to deliver 10 satellites for the global leader in mobile voice and data satellite communications, Iridium.

The rocket was launched from “Space Launch Complex 4E” located in Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The satellites were deployed about 1 hour after the launch of Falcon 9.

After they had delivered the payload in low earth orbit, Falcon 9 successfully returned to SpaceX’s droneship which was located in the Pacific Ocean.

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Space Launch Complex 4E

SpaceX’s Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base has a long history dating back to the early 1960s. Originally an Atlas launch pad activated in 1962, 4E was in active use until a 2005 Titan IV launch. SpaceX’s groundbreaking was in July 2011, and the pad was completed in November 2012 in just 17 months. SpaceX took advantage of some existing infrastructure, but implemented extensive modifications and reconstruction of the pad. Part of the renovation included tearing down a 30+ story mobile service tower and a 20+ story umbilical tower, and 97 percent of these units were recycled.

The complex consists of a concrete launch pad/apron and a flame exhaust duct. Surrounding the pad are fuel storage tanks and the integration hangar. Before launch, Falcon 9’s stages, SpaceX’s fairing and the launch payload are housed inside the hangar. A crane/lift system moves Falcon into a transporter erector system and the fairing and its payload are mated to the rocket. The vehicle is rolled from hangar to launch pad shortly before launch to minimize exposure to the elements.

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