Iridium NEXT Successful Third Launch

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SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket with the ten communication satellites Iridium-3 on Board from the spaceport Vandenberg in California.

The launch has a backup window tomorrow at around the same time if this launch has to be scrubbed for any reason.

The first stage of the Falcon 9 booster executed an automated return to Earth, landing with pinpoint precision on an off-shore droneship to chalk up SpaceX's 17th successful recovery in 22 attempts.

This marked the third mission SpaceX has undertaken for the satellite company. The instantaneous launch window is at 5:37 a.m. PDT, or 12:37 UTC on Monday, October 9.

The launch was the first of two planned this week by SpaceX.

Less than hour after liftoff, each Iridium Next satellite was expected to be deposited in space every 100 seconds, with full deployment taking approximately 15 minutes. The 66 satellites will spread out around the planet to provide service to remote regions of the globe, the company has said. Those missions all involve newly produced Falcon 9 rockets, though the operator has expressed a willingness to launch on pre-flown rockets should they prove able to accelerate the pace of launches. The rocket carried with it the third set of 10 satellites for Iridium, a company that specializes in mobile voice and data satellite communications. SpaceX attempts to retrieve its rockets in order to reuse them for future launches and cut costs.

Iridium NEXT is the company's next-generation satellite constellation, replacing and enhancing its existing network of interconnected, low-Earth orbit satellites spanning the entire globe - the largest commercial satellite constellation in space.

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