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.

MDA

About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactice Inc. Boucher has 18 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 25 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.