After the disastrous test run of its rocket back in June, SpaceX went dark for a few months, save for the occasional Twitter kerfuffle. But today, the private space company announced it is finally ready for another attempt: CEO Elon Musk confirmed via Twitter that SpaceX will launch a Falcon 9 rocket around December 19. The rocket will contain 11 satellites that are being sent into lower Earth orbit for a client called Orbcomm, a New Jersey-based communications company.
The satellites SpaceX is launching are primarily intended to improve Orbcomm’s core business, which centers around remote access to equipment and assets for transportation, maritime, and government clients. In a press release, Orbcomm specifically noted that the new satellites will make it easier to track ships at sea.
SpaceX’s upcoming launch will test a slightly updated version of its Falcon 9 rocket, which should reportedly make it easier to recover when it returns to Earth. The company’s last rocket launch was in June, when a Falcon 9 rocket exploded shortly after launch. Disasters are an unfortunately common part of space travel and testing for both NASA and private stakeholders; the more tourism-centered Virgin Galactic also had a high-profile crash during a test flight in 2014.
The exact launch date for SpaceX’s rocket will depend on weather conditions.