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article imageSpaceX resumes rocket launches in wake of September explosion

By Karen Graham     Jan 3, 2017 in Technology
Just four months after a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad while undergoing prelaunch testing at Cape Canaveral, the company is ready to resume scheduled launches.
SpaceX launches were suspended after the September 1, 2016, explosion that destroyed the $62 million Falcon 9 rocket and its $195 million payload, a Facebook Internet satellite, during fueling for a pre-launch test.
SpaceX said in a statement on Monday they are ready to resume rocket launches after what Company CEO Elon Musk says was the "most robust internal investigation in the company's near decade and a half in existence." The investigation "identified several credible causes" for the failure of a helium container, adding that "corrective actions address all credible causes."
SpaceX is now looking again to the future, targeting a return to flight from Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) with the Iridium NEXT launch on January 8, pending FAA approval and pre-launch testing. The investigation into the September explosion was conducted with FAA oversight and approval is expected for this Sunday's launch.
Iridium's Next-Generation Global Satellite Constellation
In a press release, Iridium Communications Inc. described the first batch (10 satellites) of the new satellite constellation being put into low-Earth orbit on Sunday.
Satellites have been fueled  pressurized & dispenser tiers are being stacked. This was accomplis...
Satellites have been fueled, pressurized & dispenser tiers are being stacked. This was accomplished on December 27 in preparation for the January 8 launch.
Iridium Communications Inc
This is part of the largest "tech upgrade" in history. Iridium has partnered with Thales Alenia Space for the manufacturing, assembly and testing of 81 Iridium NEXT satellites, at least 70 of which will be launched by SpaceX. The replacing of the satellites one-by-one in a constellation of this size and scale has never been completed before.
SpaceX is contracted to make seven SpaceX Falcon 9 launches, deploying ten Iridium NEXT satellites at a time, with all of them expected to be deployed by 2018. Iridium is the only mobile voice and data satellite communications network that spans the entire globe.
More about Spacex, september explosion, iridium communications satellites, january 8, backlog of contracts
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