SpaceX gets green light days before scheduled launch
NEW YORK — SpaceX has received the FAA go ahead to launch a fresh rocket into space, just days before it is scheduled to blast off.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will launch with 10 Iridium NEXT satellites. According to the satellite maker, the launch is scheduled for Monday at 10:22 am PST, barring complications due to weather.
SpaceX hasn’t attempted to launch a rocket since September 1, when the exercise ended in disaster. The rocket exploded, destroying itself and a pricey Facebook satellite made by Israeli company Spacecom.
Last week, Elon Musk’s SpaceX said that it was ready to launch on Sunday, January 8, but conceded it had not yet received a necessary license from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“SpaceX applied for a license to launch the Iridium NEXT satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base” in California, the FAA said in a statement on Friday. “The FAA has granted a license for that purpose.”
The launch is now scheduled for Monday, January 9.
The launch will once again attempt to take a satellite into space — 10 satellites, actually.
“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,” Iridium CEO Matt Desch said in a statement.
Those satellites are designed to increase the company’s speed and bandwidth. Each satellite will also host an aircraft tracking and surveillance system made by flight tracking company Aireon.
After the September explosion, SpaceX, NASA, the FAA, the U.S. Air Force and the National Transportation Safety Board launched a probe into the cause of the blast. On Monday, SpaceX said the investigation had concluded, and blamed a failed pressure vessel in a liquid oxygen tank for the failure.
The FAA said Friday it “accepted the investigation report… and has closed the investigation.”