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Elon Musk’s SpaceX rockets have been given a clean bill of health by the FCC following a catastrophic explosion on September 1st, and the first launch takes place today (January 9) at 10.22 am (Pacific Time).
The launch was originally scheduled for January 8, but postponed because of anticipated bad weather and heavy rain at its Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, launch site.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will loft 10 mid-size satellites for specialist telco Iridium. A test firing of the rocket’s engines on Thursday last week (January 5) went without a hitch.
“With completion of the static fire test, our first launch has just gotten that much closer,” said Iridium CEO Matt Desch. “The Iridium team has been anxiously awaiting launch day, and we’re now all the more excited to send those first ten Iridium NEXT satellites into orbit.”
SpaceX has a contract from Iridium to launch a total of 70 satellites into orbit.
Provisionally, the next Falcon 9 launch will take place from its normal base at Cape Canaveral (launch pad 39a) on January 26th and probably for EchoStar’s E-23 satellite. Repair work at launch pad 40 (where the September explosion happened) is continuing.