SpaceX - Iridium NEXT IV Mission patch.
Dec. 23, 2017
Image above: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Image Credit: SpaceX.
The Falcon 9 mission, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 8:27 p.m. Eastern in an instantaneous launch window, was the fourth of eight missions for Iridium, carrying the McLean, Virginia-based operator’s second generation satellites, called Iridium Next.
SpaceX - Iridium-4 Webcast
In what now is considered a rarity, SpaceX opted not to recover the rocket’s first stage, instead letting the booster fall into the Pacific Ocean. SpaceX has recovered 20 out of 42 first stage Falcon 9 boosters to date, with the first success following the launch of 11 Orbcomm satellites to low Earth orbit (LEO) in December 2015. Today’s launch was SpaceX’s fifth with a previously flown Falcon 9, using a first stage that had launched the second batch of 10 Iridium Next satellites back in June.
This was the fourth set of 10 satellites in a series of 75 total satellites that SpaceX will launch for Iridium’s next generation global satellite constellation, Iridium® NEXT.
Iridium NEXT: https://www.iridium.com/network/iridiumnext
Images, Video, Text, Credits: SpaceX/Iridium/Orbiter.ch Aerospace.