Live Event

SpaceX Nails Launch and Landing on Return to Flight

SpaceX Iridium-1 Mission Launch.

SpaceX and its customers can breathe a sigh of relief today after an instantaneous launch went off without a glitch. The Falcon 9 lifted off at 12:54 p.m. EST and began deploying the first of 10 Iridium satellites 59 minutes later.  At 2:13 p.m. EST SpaceX reported that all of the Iridium satellites had been deployed successfully.

It was also perfect landing of the first stage rocket booster on the SpaceX barge Just read the Instructions off the coast of California, and the 7th time they have successfully recovered a first stage.

This was the first launch for SpaceX this year and first since a Falcon 9 exploded on the pad in September last year.

SpaceX will attempt to launch at least a dozen more rockets this year with the next scheduled in just 12 days time with the launch of the EchoStar 23 communications satellite.

The EchoStar launch is scheduled for SpaceX’s newly refurbished launch pad at NASA’s famed Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) which SpaceX has a 20 year lease for.  LC-39A was originally used for the Apollo program and then by the Space Shuttle.

SpaceX Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A)
SpaceX Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A). Credit: NASA.

Our earlier story, As SpaceX Returns to Flight There’s a Lot Riding on the Flight for Many Companies, detailed the importance to SpaceX and its customers of this flight.

SpaceX Falcon 9 on the launch pad for the Iridium 1 mission.
SpaceX Falcon 9 on the launch pad for the Iridium 1 mission.
SpaceX Falcon 9 just over 1 minute into launch.
SpaceX Falcon 9 just over 1 minute into launch.
SpaceX falcon 9 1st stage preparing for reentry and landing.
SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage preparing for reentry and landing.
SpaceX falcon 9 1st stage approaching the landing barge.
SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage approaching the landing barge.
SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage moments before landing.
SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage moments before landing.
SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage has landed safely on the SpaceX barge.
SpaceX Falcon 9 1st stage has landed safely on the SpaceX barge.

Updated: Sunday, January 15, 2017 11:37 a.m. EST.

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceRef Canada Interactive Inc, CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef U.S., advisor and co-founder of the Canadian Space Commerce Association, and director and co-founder of MaxQ Accelerator Inc. Previously he was the founder of Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine which he sold.
  • Java55

    Congratulations on the successful launch and the bull’s eye landing of the first stage rocket booster on the SpaceX barge. Well done indeed!

    • The video footage of the landing was something else. That the primary mission was accomplished was the best news. Also, it’s been some time since I’ve seen a SpaceX launch with no issues being worked or delays during the launch countdown.

      • Java55

        The only small down side is in a couple of years or so people will be missing those ‘Iridium flares’ which have been so common during the last couple of decades.

        Quote from BBC News: SpaceX returns to flight with Falcon 9 rocket launch

        “One thing the new satellites will not be capable of doing, however, is producing Iridium “flares”. These are the flashes in the sky that result when sunlight glints off the antennas of the old spacecraft.

        The new satellites do not have the same configuration, so once the original constellation is de-orbited the flashes will cease.” Cont…