Last year’s September wasn’t very fortunate SpaceX as the Falcon 9 exploded while on the launch pad. But that didn’t stop SpaceX from making it better and up for another launch. December 16 has been finalised by the company to relaunch the Falcon 9 for the first time after the unfortunate accident.
Iridium wants to set up its NEXT constellation as soon as possible as only after that the current constellation can be shut down. The Falcon 9 will be carrying 10 of the total satellites on its December 16 flight. This load will be the first one of the 81 spacecraft planned to be launched for replacing the existing satellite constellation.
The September 2015 accident occur while the rocket was being fuelled at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. This time, SpaceX has worked on the fuelling system and Iridium is confident that the Falcon 9 will be successful this time. It was also mentioned that the Iridium satellites will not be loaded on the rocket while doing the prelaunch engine test.
Iridium’s constellation is said to be the world’s biggest commercial satellite network located in the low-Earth orbit. The company wants to launch as many as 70 satellites with the help of SpaceX and is calling it the “biggest technology upgrade in history.” Besides Iridium, SpaceX has also partnered with NASA to carry humans to the International Space Station in 2018.
The incident occurred last year has raised a few concerns in this regard and in November, SpaceX’s fuelling process was also questioned by a NASA advisory panel. The company uses extremely cold liquid propellants like helium, which are to be loaded right before the blastoff. This doesn’t let the fuel to warm up and also helps the rocket to return back to earth and be reused.