SpaceX launches first rocket since explosion in Florida

SpaceX launches first rocket since explosion in Florida”

The company will be sending up Falcon 9 rocket Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54 a.m.

Liftoff is now scheduled for 9:54 a.m. PST (12:54 p.m. EST / 17:54 GMT) Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at Space Launch Complex 4 East on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The first stage engines shut down about two-and-a-half minutes after launch.

Saturday's launch comes more than 4 months after SpaceX lost not only a Falcon 9 but the Israeli-built AMOS-6 communications satellite which was supposed to assist Facebook in providing increased internet access across the African continent.

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"Today Iridium launches a new era in the history of our company and a new era in space as we start to deliver the next-generation of satellite communications", Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a statement on Saturday. (860 kilograms) satellites, which are the first 10 members of Iridium's planned 70-spacecraft "NEXT" constellation.

The aerospace company SpaceX has kept its finances largely covered up from public view since the company's founding almost 15 years ago. Recovering stages for eventual refurbishment and reuse is a major element in company founder Elon Musk's ongoing drive to reduce launch costs.

SpaceX officials say they identified all possible causes of the September 1 accident during prelaunch testing at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and took corrective action.

SpaceX investigators determined that a faulty steel strut in the Falcon 9's upper stage caused that accident.

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It is the first launch since a SpaceX rocket erupted into flame during an attempted launch in September previous year.

Meanwhile, SpaceX exuded confidence that a flawless launch will follow. "A million things have to go right in order to have a successful launch, literally, and only one thing has to go wrong to have a really particularly bad day", Shotwell added.

The stakes for SpaceX were high after a pair of accidents.

It was also a setback for NASA, which had been counting on the private company to keep the International Space Station stocked with supplies and, ultimately, astronauts.

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The $3 billion operation will replace 66 older satellites in order to improve mobile voice and data services for the maritime and aviation industries and allow the development of "new and innovative products and solutions" for Iridium's partners, according to Florida Today. If they succeed, it will mark the fifth time they have successfully brought home the Falcon 9 on a barge at sea.

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