SpaceX successfully completes back-to-back launches
Los Angeles: SpaceX has completed two back-to-back successful missions this weekend, the company's quickest launch turnaround yet.
After it launched a communications satellite into orbit from Kennedy Space Centre in Florida on Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk's private space outfit finished its run with a clean launch from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base on Sunday.
- Sunday's launch marked SpaceX's ninth so far this year.
- The company has now surpassed the record for the most launches in a single year, which it set in 2016.
- The latest mission was to deliver a group of satellites into orbit for a company called Iridium.
- Those satellites will join a growing network dubbed the Iridium Next system.
Iridium Next has many goals. One of its most notable is to eliminate 'black zones' where commercial airplanes cannot be tracked by providing global real-time surveillance of all flights.
There will be six more Iridium Next missions over the next year.
Friday's mission marked the second time SpaceX has reused a first-stage rocket booster, which flings the payload toward orbit. The booster was previously used in a January mission.
- SpaceX is the only company that has recovered, refurbished and then re-flown an orbital class rocket.
- So far, SpaceX has safely landed first-stage rockets on land or a droneship 13 times.