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