SpaceX Falcon 9 Iridium-8 launch today, live stream

James Marshall
January 11, 2019

At 10:31 a.m., EST today, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket containing a batch of 10 satellites for longtime customer Iridium Communications Inc. from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The rocket is expected to carry 10 satellites from Iridium into orbit. The original fleet of satellites, famous for their periodic Iridium flares, were launched between 1997 and 2002. This is the eighth and final set of satellites in a series of 75 that have been deployed.

According to a tweet from Iridium CEO Matt Desch on Thursday, the Falcon 9 rocket was rolling out to the launch pad Thursday morning.

The mission will launch the final 10 Iridium Next satellites to space from Vandenberg, culminating a campaign that began with the first set of spacecraft heading to space January 14, 2017.

"There it is, right in the middle of the bullseye", said SpaceX commentator John Innsbrucker, as live images showed the first stage of the rocket standing upright on the droneship named "Just Read the Instructions".

Taken together, the Iridium satellite deployments represent an ambitious project that SpaceX refers to as "one of the largest "tech upgrades" in space history".

As well as boosting coverage across the globe, the new network will support new services such as Iridium CertusSM, the company's next-generation L-band broadband, and its AireonSM system for global aircraft surveillance and tracking. The new constellation marks the first upgrade of its kind and is created to provide L-band broadband solutions and truly global aircraft surveillance and tracking.

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