SpaceX is getting ready to send another round of satellites to the stars, its first mission of 2019, from the launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Falcon 9 and 10 Iridium NEXT satellites vertical on SpaceX’s California launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Tomorrow’s instantaneous launch window is at 7:31 a.m. PST, 15:31 UTC → https://t.co/gtC39uBC7z pic.twitter.com/z3fv7j11xH
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 11, 2019
The company’s Falcon 9 is ready for liftoff, loaded up with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites, which will complete Iridium’s orbiting satellite constellation that make up their 75-satellite strong global communications network. Iridium CEO Matt Desch told Satellite Today (…perhaps your subscription lapsed?) that this is one of the largest tech upgrades in space history and “the most important milestone of all” in their $3 billion effort to upgrade their system “to enable more efficient Internet of Things (IOT) capabilities.”
Today’s flight, called Iridium-8, is scheduled for 10:31 a.m. ET exactly, and if they miss the window, they have to push the launch to Saturday at 10:25 a.m. ET. The flight will not only help Iridium update its network, but after dropping off the satellites in space, SpaceX will attempt to land its rocket on an autonomous drone ship in the Pacific.
Watch all the fun here: