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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 11th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 32

SpaceX launches satellites from Vandenberg, completes landing


Another SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted into low-earth orbit just after 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 9 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. After delivering its payload of Iridium Communications Inc. satellites, the rocket booster successfully landed on a platform in the Pacific Ocean, according to a SpaceX news release.

“Each successful launch brings us one step closer to both a technological and financial transformation,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a statement.

The mission involved sending 10 Iridium Next communications satellites into low-earth orbit and capped a year that saw Iridium add 30 such satellites over the course of three launches. SpaceX officials say the satellites will replace the largest commercial low-orbit satellite network and called it one of the “largest tech upgrades in history.”

The satellites will utilize automatic dependent surveillance based payloads—or a space-based air traffic surveillance system. The companies providing the tracking system, Aireon LLC and FlightAware, said the payloads upgrade existing ground-based systems and add tracking coverage to oceanic, polar, and other remote regions. Officials also say the upgrades will improve flight efficiency, enhance safety, and reduce emissions.

“Even with only a partial constellation [of satellites] in orbit, we’ve been able to start tracking flights that nobody has been able to fully track before,” FlightAware CEO Daniel Baker said in a statement.

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