SPACE: SpaceX Iridium Launch
On January 14th 2017, SpaceX successfully returned to space for the first time since August. The event was broadcast live below , with Liftoff occurring at 12:54pm EST. The text below was written before the launch occurred, not only did SpaceX deliver its payload of 10 satellites, it also landed the rocket with grace.
This will be SpaceX's first launch since one of its rockets exploded due to a fueling malfunction. The Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying 10 Iridium NEXT satellites in what is being billed as one of the largest "tech upgrades" in history. Iridium has partnered with Thales Alenia Space, a satellite company to manufacture 81 satellites that will replace an older generation of communication satellites. The replacement of this many satellites 1-by-1 in a constellation of similar size and scale has never been accomplished before.
SpaceX will attempt to land the rocket after the launch on a Drone Barge in the middle of the ocean. SpaceX has approval from the FAA to make 7 launches each carrying 10 satellites for Iridium over the next year. Since the accident that occurred during the last launch, SpaceX has had to delay plans to return a rocket to space (for the first time), make it's first launch of the Falcon Heavy (3 Falcon 9's strapped together) and has lost a contract to launch a payload for Inmarsat.
If all goes well today, SpaceX has a number of milestones to look forward to, including launching and landing all 3 boosters of a Falcon Heavy rocket, the beginning of sending people in to space on SpaceX rockets, and the eventual creation of a Martian Colony sometime in the near future. If Elon Musk can pull of the greatest show on earth, we have a lot more SpaceX news to look forward to.