SpaceX cutting it fine for Dec 16 launch date
December 5, 2016
By Chris Forrester
Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX is expected to return to flight with a Falcon 9 rocket on December 16th, and to launch a cluster of satellites for space telephone and data company Iridium.
However, SpaceX has yet to receive a clean bill of health in the shape of a formal investigation to a September 1st catastrophic explosion which destroyed an Israeli satellite, Amos-6. The Federal Aviation Administration is one of the bodies compiling the report into the incident.
The explosion took place at SpaceX’s facility at Cape Canaveral, Florida, while the December 16th event is scheduled for a launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
Iridium Communications has confirmed its expects the launch to proceed as expected, at 12.36pm Pacific Time on December 16th. “This launch is contingent upon the FAA’s approval of SpaceX’s return to flight following the anomaly that occurred on September 1st 2016 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida,” Iridium said in a statement. “We are grateful for [SpaceX’s] transparency and hard work to plan for their return to flight. We are looking forward to the inaugural launch of Iridium NEXT, and what will begin a new chapter in our history.”